Barack Obama fuels gun buying boom with pledge to tighten laws
A pledge by US President Barack Obama to tighten gun control laws has led to firearms sales soaring across America.
14 Mar 2009
Firearms sales have soared across America after US President Barack Obama pledged to tighten gun control laws Photo: AP
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand, and many gun shops running low on stock as the US public buys weapons in anticipation of tighter controls.
On the campaign trail last year Mr Obama proposed restoring a Clinton-era ban on several types of military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, as well as background checks for buyers at gun shows, and other "common-sense measures".
His pledge has proved a potent catalyst, with manufacturers recording soaring profits since his election.
"Since November, sales of firearms - in particular handguns and semi-automatic hunting and target rifles - are fast outpacing inventory," said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the US firearms and ammunition industry.
"Americans are clearly concerned about their ability to be able to purchase these products in an uncertain future," he added.
Demand for certain ammunition is also outstripping supply as enthusiasts build up stockpiles ahead of threatened tax increases on bullets.
Industry watchers say the rush is also down to people taking up arms against the recession, anxious to defend themselves against rising crime driven by the economic gloom.
Personal background checks - which, under federal law, are required of people purchasing rifles and handguns - jumped 42 per cent at gun stores to a record 1.5 million in November after Mr Obama was elected. Since then, they have risen by an average of 25 per cent each month.
In Florida, state authorities have hired an extra 61 people just to help process the waiting list for gun permits.
Gun control advocates are pinning their hopes on the president as they lobby for tougher legislation that they say could help prevent massacres such as that carried out by Michael McLendon in Alabama last week, in which ten people died.
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, said: "Our nation must take action to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons."
People like Paul Helmke are so simple minded they don’t understand dangerous people will get dangerous weapons illegally if they have to so penalizing the law abiding citizens makes no since
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