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Gun sales spike amid election uncertainty

Tradition of election year gun sale increase in November continues

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just days before the presidential election, local gun stores are seeing a spike in sales.

It appears shoppers are worried that after the election, depending on who wins, gun laws might change.

Statewide, background checks for firearms increased by more than 11,000 last month from October 2015, according to records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Green Acres Sporting Goods on the Westside is taking advantage of the spike in buyers by running a sale to try to get even more customers in the store before Election Day next Tuesday.

Sales manager Z Farhat said his store has sold a lot of handguns and semi-automatic rifles.

Farhat said firearm sales spike every election year around November, but it seems to be more this year than the last few cycles.

“Everybody is just unsure of what's going to happen,” Farhat said. “They just want to make sure that if anything does change with the gun laws in this country that they've made their purchases.”

Farhat said the worry for some is that prices on guns and ammunition could go way up, depending on who wins Tuesday’s election.

“I have had guns all my life, and I just hate to hear what they say,” gun owner Benny Elrod said. “What they could end up doing is either cut back on the manufacture of ammunition or raise the prices so high.”

Elrod was one of dozens at Green Acres on Tuesday, filling out forms for a background check. He purchased a new handgun.

Many of the buyers contributing to the spike in sales are new gun owners, according to Farhat. He said there has also been a big increase in people taking concealed weapons classes -- nearly double where they were a month ago.

“If they've never owned a gun or fired a gun for that matter, I prefer that they take the class first,” Farhat said. “Take our class, get the safety down, get comfortable. Guns are a tool, but they need to be respected.”

Farhat said that depending on what happens Tuesday night with the election, the increase in sales could continue right up through Inauguration Day next January. He said runs like this are good for business in the short term, but if laws change, that could hurt his bottom line in the future.