15 November 2008

Gun Owners Stockpiling Over Fear of Democratic Weapon Bans

From Fox News

Handguns and rifles are flying off the shelves at Ted Sabate's gun shop in Kensington, Md.

And while it's not uncommon for gun sales to spike when the economy takes a downturn, Sabate says that's not what he's hearing from customers. According to Sabate, gun enthusiasts are stockpiling because they say they're afraid the incoming Democratic administration will impose new gun bans.

"People are afraid that if there's another ban imposed ... they won't be able to buy them at all," Sabate said. "So they want to get something now before they don't think that they can."

Sabate's shop is not alone. In gun shops across the country, federal background checks are up 9 percent nationally over the last year, suggesting gun sales are increasing as Inauguration Day nears.

"Y2K and 9/11 were real busy, but it pales in comparison to what we've had going on here in the last week," said one Colorado gun dealer. "I've been doing this type of business for about 10 years and I've not -- I've never seen anything like this before."

Though President-elect Barack Obama said repeatedly during the campaign that he supports Second Amendment rights, some gun buyers still are not convinced.

"There's always questions any time there's a new president whether you vote for him or against him. There's gonna be questions about somebody new coming into office, what they're gonna bring into office with him," gun owner Larry Starks said.

Vice president-elect Joe Biden, for instance, was a strong supporter of the assault-weapons ban, signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. Under the ban, domestic gun manufacturers were required to stop making semi-automatic assault weapons and ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds (except for military or police use). The ban expired four years ago.

Some Democrats say the fear-mongering is simply a ploy by the gun lobby.

"It's pretty clear this has been worked up by the NRA and the gun-shop owners, you know, when they're having 'Obama Sales Days.' I don't think that's coming from Barack Obama," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the congressional delegate from Washington, D.C.

The head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, foresees a split in the Democratic party.

"What you're going to see is a real struggle between the elite wing of the party -- the Manhattan, Georgetown cocktail party circuit, the Los Angeles -- versus the union, rank-and-file members ... the members that are going to (say) wait a minute, my district likes to hunt, my district respects the Second Amendment," LaPierre said.

A spokesman for Obama's transition team said, in a written statement to FOX News, that Obama "respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms," and that he will "protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns."

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