Gun shop owners across the United States are already starting to see an uptick in sales.
This follows what has been a record-setting era for firearms sales that began when much of the country shut down a year ago due to the global novel coronavirus pandemic. President Joe Biden’s election caused another spike in sales last fall. Still, this month’s tragic mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder have only further resulted in additional sales.
Now, as lawmakers, including the president, have called for greater background checks and even potential gun regulations, sales have again ticked up.
“When you hear more calls for firearm restrictions, we have observed gun sale increases primarily from people buying before they’re not able to,” Rob Southwick, founder of the market research firm Southwick Associates, told CNN on Thursday.
Southwick’s comments came just two days after President Biden called upon Congress to pass the gun-control legislation that Democratic lawmakers introduced earlier this month.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future,” said Biden.
The president has called for a ban on so-called assault rifles, or what the industry has dubbed modern sporting rifles. While these may resemble the military’s actual select-fire assault rifles, the commercial versions are semi-automatic only. However, many lawmakers have continued to erroneously describe firearms such as the AR-15 as a “weapon of war.”
Biden also called for the Senate to pass two bills that would strengthen the background check system.
Fearing such calls, many are heading to the gun shops across the country, and the story is very much the same.
“Any time you talk about gun control, it sends people to the gun store,” said Eric Wallace with Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia, outside of Atlanta.
Wallace told Fox5 News such calls for tougher gun laws result in a spike in gun sales. “You tell someone they might not be able to get something; that makes them want it more.”
That has been especially true of the aforementioned AR-15, and Biden could become a better salesman for the firearm than any brand ambassador.
“With the President talking about AR-15’s a lot of people have been coming to buy extra magazines for the AR-15’s; it’s a popular model, today especially,” said Wallace.
Many of the customers across the country are first-time buyers.
In Southaven, Mississippi, sales at Bullfrog Corner Pawn and Guns jumped a year ago and then again at the election. But this week saw a number spike in sales. “We got a Democrat in, and that’s got a lot to do with it,” the shop’s owner Danny Metcalf told WREG News Channel 3. “A lot of people are scared of what’s going on.”
Such fears of increased legislation may be driving sales. Still, the industry actually would like to investigate the Boulder shooting before the president continues to make such rash calls for bans.
“We want the investigative process to go forward as it needs to,” Mark Oliva, spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, told CNN Business. “We urge Congress and the White House to do the same.”
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms and is the author of several books on military headgear, including A Gallery of Military Headdress, available on Amazon.com.