The Obama Boom

Well, there is one sector of the economy that is booming under President Obama - gun sales and ammunition. On average, the FBI's National Instant Background Check System is reporting some 1.2 million checks per month in 2009. That's a 30 percent rise over 2008 levels. The checks are required for all people buying weapons from licensed retailers.

But gun sales are not uniform across the country. The rise is concentrated, not surprisingly, in the red states. Take South Carolina (please). As of mid-October, 28,197 new concealed weapons permits have been issued this year by South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division. That's an annual record that already has surpassed the 14,630 new permits issued for all of 2008 and far outstripping all previous years, according to SLED statistics. In Oklahoma, there has been a 87 percent increase in concealed carry permit applications for 2009 over 2008 so far.

According to Wedbush Morgan equity analyst Rommel Dionisio, most of the increment in gun sales has been in self-defense firearms like military-type semi-automatics or pistols. While sales of traditional bolt-action hunting rifles and shotguns remain steady, the boom has been largely in high-powered weapons that can fire more than ten rounds. But beyond weapons, there has been an explosion in ammunition sales. Since Barack Obama's election a year ago, gun shops have sold enough bullets to give every American 38 of them. Since I don't have any, that means some of us have lot more than just 38 bullets.

The Washington Post has more.

At points during the past year, bullets have been selling faster than factories could make them.

Gun owners have bought about 12 billion rounds of ammunition in the past year, industry officials estimate. That's up from 7 billion to 10 billion in a normal year.

It's happened, oddly, at a time when the two concerns that usually make people buy guns and bullets -- crime and increased gun control -- seem less threatening than usual.

The explanation for the run on bullets lies partly in economics: Once rounds were scarce, people hoarded them, which made them scarcer.

But the rush for bullets, like this year's increase in gun sales, also says something about how suspicious the two sides of the gun-control debate are of one another, even at a time when the issue is on Washington's back burner.

The run started, observers say, as people heeded warnings from the gun-rights lobby that a new Democratic administration would make bullets more expensive or harder to get. Now that the shortage is starting to ease, gun-control groups are voicing their own dark worries about stockpiled ammunition.

In between, in the 12 months since last October, gun shops sold enough bullets to give every American 38 of them.

"We've had people buy ammunition for calibers they don't even have the gun for: 'Oh, I want to get this gun eventually. And when I get it, ammunition may be hard to get,' " said Michael Tenny, who runs a Fort Worth-based Internet sporting goods store called Cheaper Than Dirt.

Tenny said some of his ammunition tripled in price, but he still sold it: "It's just like playoff tickets."

It was already a political truism that Democrats prompt sales of both guns and ammo. The U.S. government taxes both to support wildlife conservation, and those receipts jumped after Bill Clinton was elected and after Democrats retook Congress in 2006.

But the spike under Obama seems to be on a different scale: The receipts are on pace to set a record in 2009, according to U.S. Treasury Department data, with tax revenue due from guns up 42 percent and revenue due from ammunition at 49 percent. Recently, analysts have said earnings reports from gunmakers seem to show demand for weapons slackening.

The increase in gun buying during the past year explains a large part of the increase in ammunition sales to the private market, experts on the industry say -- but probably not all of it.

They say that bullets were bought not just by new gun owners, but also by those who already owned weapons. And they say bullet sales might have increased even faster if supply had kept up with demand.

It's hard to make sense of all this.  It is, however, reprehensible how the National Rifle Association is stoking the fires. Asked for their view of what's driving gun sales, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said, "I think it's Katrina. I think it's terrorism. I think it's crime. And I also think that it's people worrying about [whether] they'll be attacked by politicians." He then added, "They're suspicious, and justifiably so."

Just for the record, the most recent FBI crime statistics, from 2008, showed that violent crime rates are their lowest level since 1989.

Tags: Ammunition Sales, national rifle association, Right Wing Threats (all tags)



reflexive fake balance

But the rush for bullets, like this year's increase in gun sales, also says something about how suspicious the two sides of the gun-control debate are of one another,

Uh, no, it only says something about pro-gun people.

by John DE 2009-11-02 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: reflexive fake balance

You're absolutely correct.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-02 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: reflexive fake balance

Simpering MSM "Reporter": Oh yes it is, be we must show both sides, we must show b balance (wimper,wimper).

by spirowasright 2009-11-02 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The Obama Boom

Who wants to go to Redstate and start a rumor that the Obamas invested all their book royalties in gun manufacturers and munitions companies?

by Endymion 2009-11-02 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: The Obama Boom

Interesting whether there has been a corresponding increase in gun violence.  Have more spouses been killed by guns?  Have more people died as a result of guns being used in road rage incidents?  Have more kids shot each other with guns they found around the house?

by kaleidescope 2009-11-02 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: The Obama Boom

Those stats will take a while to come out...

by vecky 2009-11-02 08:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The Obama Boom

Time to make omelets.

"It was already a political truism that Democrats prompt sales of both guns and ammo. The U.S. government taxes both to support wildlife conservation, and those receipts jumped after Bill Clinton was elected and after Democrats retook Congress in 2006."

Who favors a new tax on guns and ammo to pay for health-care? It will be brilliant! We could probably wipe out the bush deficit in a year or too.

by vecky 2009-11-02 08:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The Obama Boom

Please let me offer an alternative theory.  

While there is no doubt the teabaggers and their ilk are driving gun & ammo sales, if one peruses the economic blogs you'll see a huge amount of fear in most of them.  If you go to any of the gold based sites, it appears to be outright paranoia.  A common thread is that of impending economic collapse and civil disorder.  I've seen the following quote a number of times:  "It's better to have a gun and not need it than it is to need a gun and not have it."  

One doesn't have to agree with imminent market collapse and rioting in the streets, but to disparage all gun sales as being driven by Limbaugh's nutty base is probably missing some of the picture.

by weinerdog43 2009-11-03 02:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The Obama Boom

I like to make the wingnuts mad when they go off about their guns and how they are ready for when the shit hits the fan, and I am not because I have no gun.  

I always tell them that if the shit really does hit the fan, I will just kill them and take their gun.

That usually makes them think for a second.  Some just get mad.    

But the gold thing to.   Where do these gold companies advertise heavily?   On Fox and on talk radio.   Drudge is constantly talking about gold prices, stoking fear.

by RichardFlatts 2009-11-03 04:25AM | 0 recs
Real Americans, Really Scared

Think back to the town halls in August.   Think of the callers you hear on Hannity's show or others ( I can stomach about an hour total a day of Fox / talk radio and I keep tabs).

We may laugh at these people, we may scoff at these people, we wonder how anyone in America could utter the nonsense that comes out of their mouths, but one thing is for sure there are a lot of people in this country who are scared.  Honest to goodness scared.  Of exactly what I do not know but I know they are not faking it.

I think there are three factors at work.

Hannity and Beck and Rush and others in large part are responsible for ginning up a lot of this fear.    Listen to Hannity's show and count how many times he says "you should be scared of this", "this is scary stuff", "this is terrifying" .... talking about Democrats and our policies.   Listen to Beck question in that empty clueless look of his ask, will there be an America left in 4 years?   Rush will tell his listeners every day how Obama has some new plot to ruin this nation.

We, and those in the media, tend to dismiss Beck and Hannity and the rest ... they are entertainers after all (really, they don't sing, dance, or tell jokes).    But real people out there are listening and they believe it.   Its not entertainment, its rigthwing propoghanda.   Not to go off into the weeds, but this is one reason I think the White House taking it to Fox is so important and why we should all do what we can to help.

I think the economy also plays a role here for a few reasons.   One, a lot of people have been crushed financially.  Two, a lot of people who haven't have felt financially vulnerable for perhaps the first times in their lives just wondering if they were next to get crushed.  Lastly, I think a lot of Americas now realize how small the little guy really is and how we really are at the mercy of Wall St and Government.   Economic fears just help stoke other fears.

The third factor that we can't forget is that there is a reason we have called many on the right wingnuts over the years.   Many on the right are nuts.   Some are racist nuts.  Some are religeous nuts.  Some are gun nuts.   But many of them of them were nuts to begin with and a Democratic President, a black President, taking over for an evangelical Republican, was enough to put a few more of them right over the edge.  

I have posted before about the poor woman I saw on tv, at one town hall.   She looked about my age, late 30s.  She looked middle class, intelligent, she was well spoken.  She may have been a nurse, a teacher, or worked at a bank, who knows.   She was talking, and then started crying uncontrollably.   She didn't recognize her country anymore, "they" are ruining the country, she wants her country back."   It was real.   She was believed.   She was scared and crying.

These are the type of people, with their irrational fears that America is being ruined and may not recognizable in 4 years, that are running to buy ammo.

Again, I think this is why it is so important to take the gloves off and go after the rightwing talkers.    They are a large part of the problem here, scaring a lot of regular, decent Americans.   The media is closing its eyes to this and I suspect will continue to do so until we have another Oklahoma City, and even then they will call it an isolated incident and won't dig deeper at what causes such insanity.

by RichardFlatts 2009-11-03 04:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Real Americans, Really Scared

"Again, I think this is why it is so important to take the gloves off and go after the rightwing talkers."

Absolutely correct.  When people are staring at imminent unemployment, they get scared and demagogues inflame that fear.  I also think Obama could help himself a great deal by going after the banksters too.  The same people who created this financial disaster are still there and still in charge.  

by weinerdog43 2009-11-03 09:03AM | 0 recs


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