Ammunition and gun sales continue to skyrocket as the debate over gun control looms over the nation. The Gun Trader Gun Show rolled into Jacksonville this weekend at the Moroccan Shrine Center on the Southside, and the turnout was heavy.
The organizer of this weekend's gun show says he doesn't expect the strong demand for guns to ease for years to come.
"It's short demand, all short demand. When the customer is satisfied, that's when the hysteria will end," said Terry Jewel, promoter of the Gun Trader show. "I don't think that will happen for at least another eight years."
Jewel says President Barack Obama's call for gun reform following the Newton, Conn., school shootings sent the industry into a frenzy. Online ammunition sales hit all times highs. Months later, it's still challenging for vendors to get what they need.
According to vendors, their customer base has also changed since the nation's latest mass-casualty shooting.
"Now we're getting widows, young mothers, men that never thought they'd own a firearm," said Jewel. "It's bringing new people into the industry."
Vendors who recently got into the gun selling business say they are seeing good returns financially, but it's increasingly hard to stay stocked up.
"Vendors who have long standing relationships with suppliers get first dibs, while others are just having to wait," said Jewel.
Gun shows are attracting crowds from across the state, and Jewel said they are helping to stimulate the local economy.
"All the hotels are booked up, and of course people have to buy gas and eat," said Jewel. "My restaurants bill was $270, so it has a pretty big impact on the economy everywhere we go."