Fear, Greed Driving Surge In Guns And Ammo Sales


It's certainly reassuring to know that, as the economy deteriorates, there are more guns in the hands of people everywhere!

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- The way Jay Chambers sees it, the semiautomatic weapons in his firearm collection might be the most promising investment in his financial portfolio.

Like many gun enthusiasts, Mr. Chambers, a manager for a door wholesaler here, believes President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress soon will reimpose a version of an expired federal ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons. If such a law passes, he figures his collection -- enough guns, ammo magazines and weapon parts to assemble about 30 AK-47s, AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles -- could triple in value.

"A guy could easily make a lot of money," says Mr. Chambers, 47 years old, while at Autrey's Armory, a gun store about 20 miles south of Atlanta.

Purchases of guns and ammunition are surging across the country. Nearly four million background checks -- a key measure of sales because they are required at the purchase of a gun from a federally licensed seller -- were performed in the first three months of 2009. That is a 27% increase over the same period a year earlier, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

No one knows exactly what is behind the gun-buying craze. Some buyers say they are stocking up for themselves in anticipation of new gun-control laws, while others say they're worried about deteriorating public safety as the economy worsens.

But it's also clear that part of the gun-buying rally is driven by people like Mr. Chambers who are buying weapons the way others invest in a hot stock. The buying is pumping up prices. Many popular models of guns are back-ordered for a year or more. Some manufacturers are operating plants 24 hours a day. According to the 2009 edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values, the average price of European-made AK-47s -- the famous Soviet-era military weapon now made in several countries -- doubled from $350 last September to more than $700 by the end of 2008.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.