A changing of the presidential guard in the U.S. Capital has triggered a spike in gun sales in anticipation of a possible ban on buying firearms.

Marc Halcon, president of the California Association of Firearms Retailers and owner of American Shooting Center in Kearny Mesa, said sales in the fourth quarter 2008 were up 60 percent to 65 percent over the same quarter 2007.

“It is interesting that in California and nationally, with the economy, sales and layoffs, that firearms dealers, one of the oldest industries in the country, continues to do quite well,” said Halcon.

El Cajon Gun Exchange manager Ron Godwin said sales in the weeks leading up to the elections through the end of the year were up 300 percent from the three months prior.

The local shop sells firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories such as cases, cleaning gear and safes.

President Barack Obama was named “Employee of the Month” in November and December at the shop on Broadway in El Cajon that has 11 employees.

“Obama is known as ‘Gun Ban Obama.’ The man has never seen a gun ban he didn’t like,” said Godwin, a retired Navy chief and shooting range safety officer at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Waiting Lists

With the election of a Democratic president and a Democrat Party-controlled Congress, many existing and potential gun owners flocked to stores to purchase semiautomatic rifles in November and December. The California Association of Firearms Retailers indicated that these weapons, often incorrectly referred to as assault weapons, are the type of firearms Obama has indicated he would ban.

“Gun owners in California can clean the shelves nationally in about four months,” said Godwin, adding that 13 percent of the nation’s gun owners live in the state.

Currently, manufacturers and distributors cannot keep up with orders and inventory can be cleared away from shelves at Godwin’s shop. The waiting lists at El Cajon Gun Exchange and other shops are becoming longer.

“Right now we are back below normal sales because we simply can’t get the guns,” said Godwin, who carries about 25 brands of firearms and buys from a dozen distributors, including nationally known AcuSport of Ohio, Sports South of Louisiana, and Zanders’ Sporting Goods of Illinois.

“We still have the foot traffic,” said Godwin. “We just don’t have the guns.”

By MICHELLE MOWAD
Source: SDBJ