Firearm Sales Continue to Climb in March

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Firearm sales continued to surge across the country for the fifth straight month, extending a trend that began after the November elections. The increase also follows recent comments by several high-profile members of the Obama administration about re-imposing permanently and expanding the ban on modern sporting rifles.

Data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) show background checks on the sale of firearms jumped 29.2 percent in March when compared to March 2008 and were up 27.1 percent for the first quarter of 2009 over the same quarter last year.

The increase follows a 23 percent rise in February, a 28 percent rise in January, a 24 percent rise in December and a 42 percent jump in November, when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.

FBI background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing firearms from federally licensed retailers. These checks serve as a strong indicator of actual sales.

Correspondingly, ammunition manufacturers are reporting record sales across the country as demand continues to outpace supply.

"Americans concerned about their ability to purchase many types of home defense, hunting and target shooting firearms in the future are continuing to purchase these products in record numbers today," said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. "Along with this strong sales showing, we've also seen increased participation in firearm safety and education programs such as NSSF First Shots."

NICS reported 1,345,096 checks in March, up from 1,040,863 in the same month a year ago.

Additional Information:
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Gun sales up amid fears of gun control, crime due to economy

"The increase in demand for firearms and ammunition is directly attributable to gun owner concerns regarding the current political climate -- both on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country," Ted Novin, spokesman for the National Sport Shooting Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, said in an e-mail.

Novin said many current lawmakers favor gun control, but he added that gun sales also are being driven by the worsening economy and the corresponding fear of crime.

(Both Boardman Police Chief Pat Beraducci and Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander are quoted in this article expressing support for a gun ban)

Canwest News Service - Bad news is good news for U.S. gun dealers

Ralph Scott has an easy explanation for why sales at his gun shop - the Lock, Stock and Barrel - have been booming since Barack Obama's election last November.

"Here's the sad fact of the matter - our business thrives on bad news," he says.

Scott's firearms store in Portsmouth, Ohio, an economically stressed river town on the edge of Appalachia, has seen a 40 to 50 per cent spike in sales over the past five months, reflecting a national surge in demand for personal- use weapons that dates to just before the Nov. 4 election.

...Firearms retailers and gun rights lobbyists say two factors are compelling Americans to stock up on guns - worries Obama will push for stricter gun control, and fear of rising crime as the economic recession deepens.

..."I would say that President Obama has done more to mobilize gun owners today than Paul Revere did to mobilize the patriots 200 years ago," says Erich Pratt, a spokesman for Gun Owners of America, a Virginia-based lobby group. "He's been an incredible motivator, not just in terms of people becoming politically aware, but also actually going to the store and buying guns and ammunition."

..."The economy has something to do with it, because I think a lot of people here are afraid of the disintegration of society and things turning into anarchy," says Scott. "People are starting to take responsibility for their own safety. They realize the police can't be everywhere at once."
Under Obama, he adds, "the economy is getting progressively worse."

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