Gun Control Debate Boosts Local Gun Sales

By: Lauren Schmoll Email
By: Lauren Schmoll Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Chances are, if you didn't get a gun for Christmas, you know someone who did.

Since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, Conn., set off a debate over gun control in Washington, business at local gun stores has been booming.

Todd Howell says in his four years at Backwoods Guns and Taxidermy in Huntington, he’s never seen it like this.

“Gun control, you know, is really driving a lot of the sales right now,” Howell said. “The talk of gun control.”

Many of the shelves are bare. In the past two weeks, Howell says his sales have at least tripled, and it's not from the Christmas rush.

“I think that there's a concern that maybe some of the rights that we currently have," Howell said. "Some of the freedoms we currently have, we may not have those rights in the future.”

Much of that demand is for ARs, AK47s, and extended magazines. He says at this point it'll take eight to 10 weeks to get those items in, if he's able to at all.

“Right now the order process is a whole lot longer than it was two weeks ago,” Howell said.

Frank Lambert is a fan of World War I style weapons. He says he doesn't understand Washington's push for more gun laws.

“I think they're misguided,” Lambert said. “There were some of the bloodiest times in history before guns were ever invented.”

While he says ARs aren't his typical choice, he may be getting one before it's too late.

“I thought about buying an AR,” Lambert said. “Just because the situation that they might not be available.”

Even if he doesn't wind up purchasing one, the talk of more gun control has him concerned.

“It's another step, and you know like I said, it's not something I'm into," Lambert said. "But the next thing probably will be something that I'm into."

In the meantime, folks are continuing to buy up.

“I am getting 10 to 15 emails a night from people in Texas and South Dakota who would be willing to drive here to pick up an AR if I would have any in stock,” Howell said.

He says while what's going on in Washington is great for sales now, in the long run he fears it will be bad for business.

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