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Gun industry thrives under Obama administration despite warnings

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Gun sales are on the rise and the number of gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly

Gun sales are on the rise and the number of gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly
20 years, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

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    Gun industry thrives under Obama administration despite warnings Gun industry thrives under Obama administration despite warnings Document Transcript

    • Gun industry thrives under Obamaadministration despite warningsnydailynews.comOctober 19, 2012Gun sales are on the rise and the number of gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly20 years, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.President Barack Obama has presided over a heyday for the gun industry despite predictions by theNational Rifle Association four years ago that he would be the “most anti-gun president in Americanhistory.” Gun buyers fear that Obama wants to restrict their purchases, especially if he were re-elected.An analysis by The Associated Press of data tracking the health of the gun industry shows that sales areon the rise, so much that some gun manufacturers cant make enough guns fast enough. Major guncompany stock prices are up. The number of federally licensed, retail gun dealers is increasing for thefirst time in nearly 20 years. The NRA is bursting with cash and political clout. And Washington hasexpressed little interest in passing new gun laws, despite renewed calls to do so after recent deadlyshootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.Obama has made no promises to impose new gun control legislation and doesnt have the support inCongress or among voters even if he did. During this weeks presidential debate, Obama suggestedrenewing a U.S. ban on assault weapons and coming up with an overall strategy to reduce violence, butboth Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said the government needs to enforcegun laws already on the books.
    • “The driver is President Obama. Hes thebest thing that ever happened to the firearmindustry,” said Jim Barrett, an industryanalyst at C.L. King & Associates Inc. inNew York. Tennessee lawyer BrianManookian said he never considered himselfa gun enthusiast like others in his state. Heowns only one handgun. But the firearmsindustry has proved so lucrative for him thathes enthusiastic now. Manookian and hisbusiness partner, Gary Semanchik, opened a$5 million firearms retail and trainingcomplex in September in Nashville.Inventory is selling three to four times fasterthan they expected since the facility opened.“It is a very strong investment,” Manookian said.Others agree. For the first time since 1993, the number of federally licensed retail gun dealers in theU.S. increased slightly in 2010 and 2011, as the country added 1,167 more licensed retail gun dealers,according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives records. After the assault weaponsban in 1994, the number of gun dealerships dropped annually until 2010. As of October 2012, therewere 50,812 retail gun dealers — thats 3,303 more than in 2009.“Business has been very good,” said Frederick Prehn, who a year ago opened a small gun store abovehis dentistry practice in Wausau, Wis. In the past year, Prehn has relocated twice to larger spaces andgone from one employee to eight.Some gun store owners cant keep shelves stocked, said Brian Jones, owner of Bullseye Shooterssupply in Painted Post, N.Y. Jones said he opened his gun store in November 2010. In his first year,Jones said he sold between 600 and 700 guns. A little more than halfway through his second year, hesalready sold 700.For the first time in the companys history, Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc. stopped taking orders for a couplemonths this year. Ruger, one of the nations largest gun manufacturers, has since resumed taking orders,though gun-sellers say demand is still outpacing production.Obama is not yet through his first term, but the federal government already has conducted about asmany background checks for gun owners and prospective buyers on his watch as it did during the firstsix years of George W. Bushs presidency. In the first 3 1/2 years of the Bush administration, the FBIconducted about 28 million background checks. During the same period of the Obama administration,the FBI conducted more than 50 million. The gun industry uses the number of background checks ongun owners as a reliable indicator of demand.Ruger and Smith & Wesson represent nearly 30 percent of the U.S. gun manufacturing industry andlead the market in production of pistols and revolvers, according to government statistics. The twocompanies have been running production lines around the clock, hiring workers and operating atmaximum capacity, said Barrett, an industry analyst who also owns Ruger stock.Rugers sales have increased 86 percent since Obama took office, and Smith & Wessons sales havegone up nearly 44 percent, compared with 18 percent for overall national retail sales.And the companies have big expectations for the industrys future, as theyre spending more money on
    • research and development than ever before.“Wouldnt you want to be in a business wherecustomers are just begging to hand you money?”said Bill Bernstein, owner of East Side GunShop in Nashville, Tenn.The NRA itself has done well, too. The lobbyingorganization has had more cash on hand duringthe Obama years than it did since 2004, finishing2010 with more than $24 million, according tothe most recent figures available.“Which makes it incredibly ironic that the gunlobby is opposing Obama,” said Dan Gross,president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent GunViolence. Gross said Obama, who initially campaigned to reinstate the assault weapons ban thatexpired under Bush, has done what he said was “disappointingly little” on gun control.But the gun lobby says the success of the industry does not indicate that Obama is good for SecondAmendment rights. “This is the most dangerous election in our lifetimes,” NRA chief executive officer Wayne LaPierre said in February, a point hes made regularly during the NRAs campaign to defeat Obama. The NRA stands by its 2008 predictions that Obama would be anti-gun. NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam noted Obamas appointment of two Supreme Court justices whom the NRA considers anti-gun, plus Obamas support of a United Nations arms trade treaty and the botched gun-walking operation called Fast and Furious, which the NRA believes was concocted as part of a plan to enforce new gun restrictions.“Gun owners and hunters fear that a second Obama administration with no future political campaignsto worry about will try to destroy this great American freedom,” Arulanandam said.It is hard to find a single aspect of the gun world that isnt thriving.Fears of a Democratic president taking office and issuing stricter gun control laws led to an initial spikein gun sales in 2008, giving gun dealers some of the highest profit margins theyve ever seen. But evenafter it became clear Obama was not going to make gun control a priority as president, the industry hascontinued to do well.Fear of crime may be driving some sales. The number of violent crimes rose by 18 percent in the U.S.in 2011, according to Justice Department figures released this week. It was the first year-to-yearincrease for violent crime since 1993, marking the end of a long string of declines.Firearms sales typically increase during poor economic times, said Steve Sanetti, chief executiveofficer and president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the industry.
    • More Americans are huntingand shooting for recreation aswell, he said. Sanettiattributes that to militaryservicemen and women withfirearms experience returningto civilian life and wanting tokeep up with shooting as apastime. He also saidrecreational shooting is arelatively cheap andaccessible hobby, drawing innew buyers.Voters have made clear thatgun control isnt a priority. Arecent AP-NationalConstitution Center pollfound that 49 percent ofadults felt laws limiting gunownership infringe on thepublics right to bear arms,while 43 percent said suchlaws do not infringe on thoserights. After the recent massshootings in Colorado andWisconsin, 52 members ofCongress sponsored a bill totrack bulk sales ofammunition, but thelegislation went nowhere.Bernstein and others attribute some of the industrys success to all but one state — Illinois — offeringpermits to carry a concealed weapon. In some cases, people have been buying guns because theyreafraid of the day they wont be able to.“Any gun owner might fear that,” said Justin Paulson, a 22-year-old grad student in Nashville whorecently purchased a handgun from Bernsteins store. Paulson said hes been collecting guns since hewas 18. Hes currently up to 16. He purchased his most recent handgun because he thought the one hehad was too small to defend himself. And the timing of his purchase was deliberate. “Chances arethings might be a little tighter in terms of control come November,” he said.Fears about new gun laws mean dollar signs for the gun industry.Bernie Conaster, owner of Virginia Arms Co. in Manassas, Va., has doubled the size of his suburbanWashington gun store, hired more employees and paid bonuses since Obama has been in office.“I certainly dont want to stoke the fire,” said Conaster, “but Ill ride the wave while its here.” http://www.infowars.com/