No one knows exactly what is behind the gun-buying craze. Some buyers say they are stocking up for themselves in anticipation of new gun-control laws, while others say they're worried about deteriorating public safety as the economy worsens.If you're a regular reader of the Blog or listen to the DOWN RANGE Radio, you're feeling pretty smug, since I gave my first "BUY" recommendation more than 14 months ago...ah, the good old days of more than a year ago, when you could walk into a gun store or big box wholesaler and buy things like primers, AR-15 magazines and...pause for effect...9mm ball ammo without a mortgage!
But it's also clear that part of the gun-buying rally is driven by people like Mr. Chambers who are buying weapons the way others invest in a hot stock. The buying is pumping up prices. Many popular models of guns are back-ordered for a year or more. Some manufacturers are operating plants 24 hours a day. According to the 2009 edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values, the average price of European-made AK-47s -- the famous Soviet-era military weapon now made in several countries -- doubled from $350 last September to more than $700 by the end of 2008.
That the bubble could burst doesn't appear to be fazing buyers. "Right now even used semiautomatic rifles are selling like crazy," says Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents manufacturers and retailers.
Randy Luth, the founder and president of DPMS Firearms LLC, in St. Cloud, Minn., one of the country's largest manufacturers of AR-15s, says he recently saw rifles similar to his company's at a gun store in the Phoenix area priced between $1,200 and $1,500, compared with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $800 or $900. "It's difficult to find any AR-15 at a retail show or gun store selling for the manufacturer's suggested retail price," he says.
Here's a same same but different spin on the sales and shortages story from a firearms dealer:
New owners are driving the demand. We have people who have never owned a gun or just hunted their entire life. They walk in and want the gun like the army uses. They buy the gun, stacks of mags, ammo and are asking about training classes ect. The high end shotgunners and big game hunters think a $1,500 dollar AR is cheap. It is compared to a competition trap gun. People who have no knowledge of this class of weaponry in general do not find these weapons expensive. A dependable AR-15 can be bought for the price of a nice set of golf clubs, and an AK clone for the price of a Coach handbag. A person who loses 30 dollars worth of Nike golf balls every Saturday does not find the $9.99 box of .223 Remington overpriced. To this group of buyers this is the only price they know. They were not in the market when the prices were lower. Very few of these people haggle on prices . They do not trade anything in, nor do they really seem to care what the price is. Many are looking at how the weapons increase in value, and how much they lose daily on the market. That makes firearms and ammo a better investment. I have sold untold cases of 9mm by telling how 5 years ago I was buying Federal 9mm for 102.00 dollar per thousand shipped to my house. Now the same case is $350-400 if you can find it. That is a great return on my investment if I choose to sell. They take the gun and drop the credit card and out the door they go.
People are also stocking up on multiples. We are having people buy 2,4, or 6 guns at a time. They want one to shoot, one to put up for hard times, and one extra. People are buying weapons for their entire families. I notice many retired couple buying weapons for the grandchildren to have one just in case they are not allowed to buy one. There are also a large number of older veterans of our military who tell me they haven't fired a semi auto since Vietnam or just Nam as they call it. They ask does the weapon break down the same and most of the can take an AR right down. They tell me they are buying the rifles because they do not like the looks of things.
BTW, get ready for another blast of Mexican Montezuma's Revenge as Maximum Barry does Spring Break South 'o' the Border, where the President of that failing narco-state will argue that abridging Americans' rights is just the ticket for pulling El Jefe's nuggets out of the fire. I heard on one of the news channels this AM that gun stores along the border were selling massive numbers of "assault weapons" — like that ".50 caliber anti-aircraft weapon" (that was really a .30 caliber antique 1919 belt-fed gun like the ones littering Mexico since Pancho Villa and may not have even been a full auto, since the semiauto versions have been around for years) seized last week — to Central American black market arms merchants so they could be smuggled back into Mexico...say what? It's not even passing the sanity check.
Last time I was in Dodge City South, you could get a full-auto AK for $25 American dollars from under the table in the local marketplace, right there along with the mangos, bananas and fake Mayan pornographic idols. Not much incentive to fly to Houston, buy some $1000 semiauto ARs — which, despite what the NYT and CNN say cannot be "readily converted" to full-auto — spend the not unsubstantial dollars for transit and bribes to smuggle the ARs into Honduras or Guatemala, then spend even more money for mules to hump the guns into Mexico. Yeah, the cartels have the money, but they're not run by idiots, either.
I say we start a survey...maybe on MSNBC, the All Obama All The Time network (if they can slip it into their deification coverage of the Sainted Michelle's new puppy or their sleazy oral sex jokes about teabags)...on which of the Bill of Rights we're willing to give up to save which crumbling Third World nation. Will you give up protection against unreasonable search and seizure to save the Congo? How about a free press for Haiti? What the heck, nobody cares about Number 3, quartering of troops, anyway, so we go for a biggie, a grand slam on the 'Stans — Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan — and get a bonus Palestinian State thrown in as a sweetener.
This could be bigger than American Idol!!!