Gun Sales Continue to Surge As Obama Reaches White House

Obama Driving Surge in Gun Sales, Firearms Groups Say

President-elect Barack Obama’s election has spurred a surge in gun sales, firearms retailers and enthusiasts say, as gun owners brace for what they believe will be a new era of gun control in Washington. 

An electronic news service that covers outdoor news has even named Obama its “Gun Salesman of the Year.”

Firearmsassociations began to suspect that political considerations weredriving gun sales late last year as the number of background checksincreased. But end-of-year figures showed a big spike in backgroundchecks for the last three months of 2008, and in November, the monthObama was elected, the number of background checks was 42 percentgreater than in November 2007.

“It’snot a hard tea leaf to read,” said Jim Shepherd, publisher of the newsservice Outdoor Wire, which claims Obama’s election has “frightenedconsumers into action.”

Obama has repeatedly stated that he supports Second Amendment rights and will not crack down on gun owners, and in June he said he agreed with the Supreme Court when it overturned the District of Columbia handgun ban.

But gun groups are not convinced. They say Obama’s legislative record in support of gun control, and his offhand remark during the primaries that small-town Americans are “bitter” and “cling to their guns,” foretell a strict approach to firearms regulation during his presidency.

A December poll from Southwick Associates found that 80 percent of hunters and shooters expect the new administration and a Democratic Congress will make purchasing firearms more difficult.  

“It’s clear that gun owners and prospective gun owners are concerned about the incoming Obama administration and Congress,” said Ted Novin, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.