A Sure Shot employee assists a customer during a busy streak on Friday. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Gun sales rise since election

Published 11:40am Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The stock market has declined since Barack Obama was elected to a second term last Tuesday. But a local businessman said he has seen one trend that is going in the opposite direction since Election Day – gun sales.

Woody Baird, owner of The Sure Shot, said that he called a wholesale gun distributor in Birmingham Wednesday and  the dealer had been selling rifles at an alarming rate.

“He told me that he had opened 30 minutes early and that within the first hour, he had sold 600 AR riles,” Baird said. “Before the end of the day, they had set a one-day sales record for the amount of merchandise they sold.”

Baird said that wholesale gun retailers Bangers, Sports South, Ellet Brothers and Chattanooga Shooters supply all set sales records Wednesday.

“As of Wednesday night, all those (AR) guns were gone, sucked out of the warehouses,” Baird said. “They are out in the public now and they have been selling. (Wednesday and Thursday) I sold an average of 5 ARs, 5 handguns and 5,000 to 6,000 rounds of ammo a day.”

When Baird was interviewed on Friday, he said his sales were still on par with Wednesday and Thursday.

Baird said he believes the increase in gun sales is driven by a fear that gun laws may be changing.

“(Barack Obama) said in his second debate that he would reinstitute the Clinton-era ban on assault rifles an high-capacity magazines,” Baird said. “He has created another panic, just like he did in 2008. We ran for 18 months straight (in 2008) where we sold everything we could get our hands on.”

Baird said a large number of these AR rifles have been improperly described at ‘assault weapons.’

“An assault weapon is a select fire weapon – you can fire fully-automatic or semi-automatic,” Baird said. “The proper definition (for AR type rifles) is a ‘modern sporting rifle.’”

Baird said that first-time gun buyers and elderly individuals have been increasing.

“People are afraid,” Baird said.

Although some might see an increase in sales as a positive turn of events for a gun retailer, Baird sees it differently.

“People are buying guns for the wrong reason,” Baird said. “I would like to see a strong economy where people are buying guns for recreation, but people are buying guns now because they are scared.”