ELK MOUND, Wis. (WEAU) – Since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama’s speeches on gun control has buyers on a frenzy at local gun shops, where supplies are running low.
Store owners we talked to say fear can cause a spike in the nation's gun sales as buyers hope to invest in hard-to-get firearms.
“My grandpa started this business in 1952. Maybe if I had a furniture store, I wouldn't have to worry about it, but in the firearms business, my entire livelihood is subject to a political change,” said Tom Gilbert, owner of Gilbert Gun Exchange.
It’s the worst he’s seen in a decade, said Gilbert.
“People are looking to buy things they're afraid they won’t be able to buy later. They call them black rifles, they call them tactical rifles,” said Gilbert. “Now it’s spread onto semi-automatic handguns that have more capacity, anything you can buy a larger amount of ammo for cheaper.”
That fear also attracts investors.
“They’ve seen guns they bought for $800, they're selling for $1600. They're buying bars of silver, they're investing and I don’t blame them,” said Gilbert.
But the issue traces back to the distributors.
“Manufacturing firearms isn't like making Tupperware or making clothes. Most of it is made in this country and it requires raw materials, it requires aluminum and steel and machining. When you have a 200 percent increase in sales and you can only up your production 5 to 10 percent, you have an immediate deficit and we are now wallowing in the repercussions of that deficit,” said Gilbert.
And a spike in sales doesn't always mean good business.
“Yeah, sure it was good for the 14 guns that I had in stock that fit that description but once they were gone, now I would rather absolutely not be making this money. I’d rather not have these knee jerk reactions; I would rather have things the way they were,” said Gilbert.
Gilbert said President Obama’s call to ban military-style weapons, high-capacity magazines and universal background checks won’t solve the problem of gun violence.
“This is all token. It just makes people feel good. It’s not going to change anything in the realm of violence, none of the laws that have been proposed would have any impact on the shooters in these tragedies that hey been exploiting politically. They were all stolen firearms,” said Gilbert. “If it actually accomplished something, it would be different, but the fact is there’s more guns in this country than there are people and we need to focus on what’s wrong with the people.”