14 May 2009
“I Enjoy it,” said Anderson. “I found a hobby that I enjoy.”
According to statistics, Joyce is not alone. FBI figures show federal background checks, which are required to buy a gun, are up over one quarter in the first four months of this year. We visited this gun show outside Washington D.C. to try and find out why.
“Cocrane’s guys are really busy.”
Annette Elliot has been promoting gun shows for almost 30 years. Her shows are a 50/50 [50 percent of each] mix of antique firearms and modern weapons.
“Our main clients are collectors and hunters,” said Eliot. “We have a lot of vets, they come to the shows, veterans of wars.”
Dealers at this show say their sales are up 60 percent since late last year. Here in Virginia, background checks spiked up more than 50 percent the month Barack Obama was elected. Annette says many gun buyers fear the new president plans to ban gun sales.
“We are definitely getting back ordered now on guns,” she said. “The back orders started all the way in November and the crowds started showing up in October when they saw the writing on the wall and thought Obama was going to get in.”
The National Rifle Association ran this TV ad during the presidential campaign.
“Now I learned that Barack Obama supports a huge new tax on my guns and ammo.” said the ad. “And voted to ban virtually all deer hunting ammunition. Where is this guy from?”
Critics point to the NRA, the biggest gun ownership lobby, for leading many voters to conclude then-candidate Obama wanted to restrict gun ownership.
“No Politician is going to take away my guns and ammo,” said an NRA ad.
Organizations like Factcheck.org and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence say the ad is misleading and inaccurate. Paul Helmke is with the Brady campaign.
“Obviously the people that received those ads believe the message,” said Paul Helmke. “They are fearful. They are fearful that they cannot stock their arsenals anymore and they are running out and buying more guns.”
The National Rifle association declined our request for an interview.
Gun dealer Randy Clark who sells rare firearms, says his sales have jumped 40 to 50 percent recently.
“People feel probably like they should get their guns now,” said Randy Clark. “They feel like there is legislation coming is not favorable to gun collectors. And I sell primarily to collectors. ”
“This one it says Austria,” said Elliot. “It is a Glock. What is it a nine millimeter?”
The downturn in the economy and fear of crime contributes to the rise in gun sales. We talked to several new gun owners like Willie Beverly.
“We had a family member that was broken into that was probably two miles away from us,” he said. “And so that scared my wife and she was like, we have got to do something now.”
“We’ve got different newspaper ads,” said Annette Elliot.
Annette is not shy about appealing to fear among gun owners. She put a line in one of her newspaper ad’s that reads “Come and get them while you still can.”
“If I could do a one liner like that in my advertising and cause these crowds to come out, I would do it all the time,” she said.
The Obama administration says it has no plans to pursue additional gun control measures at this time.