Even as the uproar after the Sandy Hook tragedy is still not over, a strange phenomenon is being seen across the country. Gun stores are being overwhelmed with orders and supplies have long stripped demand with assault rifles being the first to be picked up by gun-enthusiasts. AP reported that assault rifles have been sold out across the country and the stores are finding it hard to restock their shelves, to fulfill the unparalleled surge in demand.
Ammunition, like the .223 bullets used in assault rifles are hard to find. Gun manufacturers have never had it so good and are telling anxious retailers that they will have to wait for at least 6 months for fresh supplies. Store owners are saying that the demand is unprecedented and nothing like they’ve ever seen before.
Manager of Red’s Trading Post, Idaho’s oldest gun shop, Ryan Horsley said that he had to disconnect his phone lines for three whole days as he was inundated with orders from customers. He said that the locals were not the only one’s buying, but that they were receiving enquiries from places as distant as New York.
Horsley said that he had had no time to gauge the extent of his increased sales and said that he was busy calling up manufacturers to replenish his extinguished stock. Unfortunately, he said, manufacturers told him that he would have to wait.
Ironical as it may seem the demand for firearms has actually increased following the Connecticut massacre. Analysts say that the prime reason is that the tragedy brought into the limelight the need for better and more stringent gun control in the country and with a determined President, keen on introducing stern gun-control legislation, the heightened possibility of a ban on owning guns and stricter background check measures for both buyers and sellers of guns, instilled a sense of panic buying amongst gun advocates.
James Zimmerman of SelwayArmory.com, said that President Obama’s statement after the shooting and his announcement of the formation of a new task force on gun control, with Vice-president Joe Biden at its helm, also contributed to the huge demand for guns.
Zimmerman said a single customer placed an order, valued at almost $18,000 for 32,000 rounds of ammunition from his online site. Such was the size of the order that it had to be shipped by a freight truck. Zimmerman who commenced the site three years ago said that he had sold more in a week after the 19th of December, than he had sold throughout the year.
Franklin Armory, a firearm maker in Morgan Hill, Calif., is putting more people on the job and installing more machinery to ensure that he does not miss out on the new-found demand. Meanwhile, he is asking his dealers to wait for at least six months.
Gun sales statistics are not released by any organization and the only reliable yardstick to see how many background checks were done by the investigating agencies. A background check is compulsory for all wanting to buy a firearm.
Background checks in November this year marginally exceeded sales at the same time last year. However, even though December background checks were yet to be revealed, the Federal Reserve Bureau says that there is likely to be a substantial increase.
Spokesperson Susan Medina for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said that it has received more requests for background checks than it can manage and have shifted staff from other units and increased their hours to cope with the increased demand.
Not only have the sales of guns escalated people are also buying bullet proof vests. Bullet Blocker a maker of such protective clothing said that sales of children’s backpacks have all of a sudden sky-rocketed.
He said from selling between 10 and 15 a week they are now selling between 50 and 100 bulletproof backpacks every day. Each backpack costs around $200 each.