Headline: Gun sales at record high

by Chad D. Baus

The Dayton Daily News is reporting that Ohioans are embracing their right to keep and bear arms in record numbers, mirroring a national trend. The article notes that gun manufacturers are making huge profits, which may go higher if President Obama is re-elected. (What the article fails to mention is that this is one of the few industries that can make such claims under the Obama administration.)

From the article:

Smith & Wesson reported record net sales of $136 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, up 48.3 percent from a year ago. The company recently raised its full-year sales forecast from between $485-$505 million to $530-$540 million because of consumer demand.

"We are under serving the market at this moment, we all know that, and that’s a great opportunity going forward for us," Smith & Wesson CEO James Debney said during a recent conference call with analysts.

Sturm, Ruger and Co. reported it built one million firearms by Aug. 15 this year, a number it took nearly all of 2011 to achieve.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Cabela's has two plans for its holiday gun sales — one if Obama is re-elected and one if Republican challenger Mitt Romney is elected.

National and state experts say fear of Obama taking on gun-control issues in a second term fuels higher sales, more background checks and increased participation in gun safety courses.

"Since Obama has gotten elected, concealed carry’s been huge,” said Shannon Campbell of Campbell's Firearms Training and Gun Accessories in Miamisburg. "People ask me all the time, it's like, 'So, who you like? You like Obama? I say yeah, I love him. He's helped my business a lot."

The article notes that Ohio is on pace to reach unprecedented numbers on issued conceal and carry permits and federal background checks. Through June, 35,022 new conceal carry licenses were approved. In all of 2011, the total was 49,828.

And on a national level, the article reports that 11.7 million National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks have been made through August — well above the 10.4 million at this time in 2011, which ended with 16.4 million checks, a record.

Again, from the article:

"I don't know what to attribute that to other than that it's something that we seem to go through every time there's elections going on," said Toby Hoover, Executive Director of the Ohio Coaliltion Against Gun Violence. "There's so much (internal) advertising and so much being put out there by the NRA people at the top as far as the fear of people taking their guns away."

Hoover provided some National Rifle Association emails she's received which state things like, "President Barack Obama and the media are conspiring to DESTROY YOUR FREEDOM" and "Obama is echoing the media propaganda machine by calling for 'sensible gun control.' You and I know that's code for GUN BANS and GUN OWNER REGISTRATION."

...Hoover said the higher NICS and concealed carry permit numbers are "very bothersome and worrisome."

The reasons for the increase vary depending on the source — ranging from fears about Obama's re-election to last year's law enabling conceal and carry in most restaurants to single women wanting protection. Two area counties — Darke and Clark — have surpassed their 2011 year-end total for handgun permits through half of 2012.

"We're bypassing what we'd had last year. Big time," said Walt Rich, a retired major and jail administrator who works five hours a day to administer the CCW paperwork in Darke County, which had issued 487 permits through June compared to 468 all of last year. "They're just kind of worried about what's going on.

"We don't have a problem with (more) people carrying guns. We really don't. Most of them are good people."

The article also takes a look at other southwestern Ohio counties, and reports that through the first two quarters of 2012, Montgomery, Greene, Preble and Miami counties have already issued between 67 percent and 79 percent of the total number of permits issued last year.

"I think one of the big reasons is the passing of the restaurant carry bill last year," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "That was one of the big reasons people didn't go get a license because they go out to business lunches...and it was illegal to carry in the vast
majority of those places. So, if I can't carry there, it kind of screws up the whole day, so there's no point in getting a license. Now that they can carry at lunch, they can now carry throughout their entire day and now it's worth getting a license. I heard that from a lot of people."

Irvine likened gun owners wanting more guns to those who like shoes: "It's not really a matter of need, it's a matter of want."

Irvine called Obama "by far the most hostile president ever" on Second Amendment issues, though others say Obama hasn't really addressed the topic while in office. "I think the election and the fear of him getting re-elected certainly is driving sales to some extent, too."

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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