While other retail businesses may be feeling a downturn in business, gun and ammunition sales are skyrocketing, according to Steven Harris, owner of Jerry’s Gun Shop in Ardmore.
Harris estimates his sales have soared 50 to 100 percent since last November, and he says the rise in sales isn’t just a local phenomenon –– gun and ammunition sales are exploding across the nation.
“People are buying guns now because they are afraid the laws are going to change. I’m seeing people in my store now I had never seen before –– people who had zero interest in guns before,” Harris said. “And ammunition is a hot item. Production can’t keep up with demand. On certain kinds of ammo, I’m actually having to ration the number of boxes I sell to a customer in order to avoid running out before my next order comes in.”
Many of Harris’ new customers are buying a handgun in expectation of applying for a “concealed carry” license. The most popular gun for those wanting the license?
“I’m selling a lot of 5-shot .38s. They are a big concealed carry gun. It’s a small gun, easy to carry, but it will get the job done,” Harris said.
So exactly what does it take to purchase a gun? Perhaps more important, how long does it take?
Not long, according to Harris. In fact, after selecting a gun and paying the purchase price, another 5 to 10 minutes will usually do it –– if the purchaser has the necessary documents.
Required documentation includes:
* Proof of state residency
* Photo identification
* Proof of current address
“We call it into the FBI, give them all your particulars, they run you and if you come back clean, they allow us to give you the gun,” Harris said.
However, the process can take up to three days.
“If you have a real common name, one that thousands of other people have, it’s going to take longer,” Harris said.
Harris also confirmed he’s seeing a rise in the sale of silencers as well. What’s up with that?
“There are several types of gun enthusiasts –– hunters, collectors, competition shooters, the ones I call toy people, who just like all kinds of guns in general and the utilitarian person, someone who wants a gun for protection or needs one for a specific purpose,” Harris said. “Those who are buying silencers usually fall into the collector or toy people categories, but some are also utilitarian gun owners.
“Veterinarians use silencers when they are at events and an animal needs to be put down. The shot isn’t heard by the public and it doesn’t excite or frighten other animals. Some people who live in outlying areas may deal with predator animals but also have neighbors and they use them so they don’t disturb their neighbors. Others want them just because they can.”
Page 2 of 2 - Regardless of why a customer buys a gun, ammunition or accessories, like silencers, Harris said he urges everyone to join a firearms group, like the National Rifle Association
“These groups help protect our rights. It is a right to bear arms. Not everyone has to have a gun, but it is their right. Firearms groups are kind of like insurance –– they work to make sure our right to bear arms is protected,” he said.