Gun, ammunition sales on the rise

Chelle Delaney and Thomas Garcia

The election of Barack Obama appears to have provided a stimulus package for gun makers and ammunition manufacturers.

There are reports of increased ammo and gun sales nationwide and sales are also on the rise in Eastern New Mexico and West Texas, according to retailers.

“I’ve sold more this year than last,” said James Dickerson of Dickerson Sports and Gun Repair in Tucumcari. “Obama and them want gun control real bad.”

“Millions of American gun owners … are exercising their Second Amendment freedom now. They’re afraid they may not be able to do so as freely or fully in the future,” says Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, on the NRA Web site.
“And I’ve sold quite a bit of ammo,” said Dickerson who also said he’s sold about 30 .22 hunting rifles in the last month.

Some buyers are stockpiling ammunition because they say they are afraid ammunition will be taxed heavily in the future by the new Obama administration, some retailers said.

Staff at an Amarillo store confirmed an increase in the sale of different types of ammunition over the past few months.

“The store has seen an increase in the sale of ammunition for rifles and handguns in the past two months,” said Bobby Grice, manager of Gander Mountain in Amarillo. “There have been a lot of customers that have come in from New Mexico, to buy ammunition.”

Patriot Outdoors in Clovis also reported an increase in sales of assault rifles, defensive shotguns and handguns with high capacity magazines.
“Since the November election a lot of people have come in to buy assault rifles like the AR-15 because they are afraid they won’t be able to buy them next year,” said Andrew Rush, vice president of operations at Patriot Outdoors.

Rush said that many of the people buying the assault rifles are fearful of another gun ban like the one enacted during the Clinton administration.
While others are buying the rifles as a future investment opportunity, in case they become hard to purchase, there has been a shortage of certain calibers with increased ammunition sales, Rush said.

“For the rifles we have had a shortage of .308 and .223,” Rush said. “For handguns the shortage is in brand name 9 mm, .40, and the .45 caliber.”

Rush said that bulk sales of ammunition have been rising with the rumor circulating that there will be a .05 cent per round tax increase.
A similar trend in ammunition sales has been reported by Quay County retailers.

“It’s like alcohol and cigarettes,” said Jimmy Watson, owner of the Tucumcari Ranch Supply.

“We’ve had a fairly good run (on ammunition sales),” Watson said. “Instead of buying one box of ammo people are now buying two or four boxes.”

Some of the increased sales can be attributed to the recent hunting season, but Watson said he’d also heard that gun owners were buying up what they could because they were afraid of increased taxes.

Quay County Sheriff Joe Schallert said he had recently been at Walmart in Clovis, where there they had run out of .22 shells.

Schallert said his office orders took between two and four months for delivery because many of the manufacturers were fulfilling orders for the military in Iraq, according to police publications.

Watson said that the increasing price of brass for shell casings was making it costly to stock ammunition and that he planned to cut down to his top 10 sellers in 2009.

Ammunition costs have risen about 30 percent since last year, Watson said.