Gun sales soar as presidential election nears

Gun enthusiasts worry Democratic administration would curtail gun rights

Published On: Oct 31 2012 11:48:39 AM EDT   Updated On: Nov 02 2012 09:29:53 PM EDT
Gun sales
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Every four years, pollsters and gun shop owners in America seem to get a little busier.

The phenomenon was sharply felt in 2008, when President Barack Obama's election had gun enthusiasts worried that a Democratic administration would curtail gun rights.

Gun and ammunition sales are booming again, and retailers say it's all because of the election next week.

At Shooters Firearms and Accessories off University Boulevard, the parking lot was already filled with cars at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Shooters sales reps say they aren't surprised. Mike Sleiman works at Shooters and was an employee in 2008 as well when gun enthusiasts flooded gun stores for supplies.

"It was pretty crazy," Sleiman said. "We love our guns, what can we say? So we get a little scared. We're going to bulk up."

The week of Obama's election in '08, background checks required for gun sales rose 47 percent from the same week in 2007. But even in this election, where the economy remains the dominant issue, the two major parties' stances on gun control haven't completely left the stage.

At a campaign stop in Pennsylvania in August, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan drew cheers when he told the crowd, "Hey, I'm a Catholic deer hunter; I am happy to cling to my guns and my religion."

The Democratic campaign has repeatedly said the administration has no plans to alter gun laws and that President Obama supports a reading of the Second Amendment that maintains current rights. Yet gun sales have risen steadily over the past several years, and presidential elections seem to secure a consistent boost for the booming industry.

"Absolutely, we tend to get a little busier the weekend before the election, so we're getting ready for it," Sleiman said.

Retailers say sales could go up depending on the outcome of the election.