Frank Herndon of Backwoods Outdoors holds an AR-15 as he describes how possible new restrictive gun legislation has led to a weapons and ammunition buying frenzy in Albany and all over the country. He said sales of AR-15s, high-capacity magazines and ammunition have spiked since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Area gun sellers say the uncertainly surrounding future gun control legislation has caused a spike in the sale of AR-15 rifles, high-capacity magazines and ammunition.
Since last month's Sandy Hook School massacre in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 students and school employees were gunned down, gun enthusiasts have been scrambling in the event restrictive new gun legislation is enacted.
"Absolutely, we have seen an increase in gun sales. We can't keep them on the shelves; they are moving as fast as we get them in," Frank Herndon of Backwoods Outdoors said. "People are buying AR-15s, high-capacity magazines and ammunition. It's gotten to the point that people have figured out when we get our deliveries and are waiting at the door for the trucks to roll in."
While the AR-15 has been the center of attention, Herndon says pistols have also been moving quickly.
"Pistols have also been going fast," he said. "We are seeing .380, .38, 9-mm and .40s go -- basically anything that is easily concealable -- selling fast."
Matt Kierce of Northwest Albany Pawn has also seen a surge in business.
"Our gun sales have basically doubled over the past month, here and in our Dawson Road store," Kierce said. "Ammo, handguns, assault weapons and tactical shotguns are selling fast. Our customers have figured out our pull schedule (when pawned items are moved from the back and offered for sale) is on Wednesday, and it has led to a huge increase in traffic. There is a lot of uncertainty out there."
Just last week, President Obama outlined a multipart plan he says will not only help prevent mass shootings but also reduce gun violence.
Among the 23 executive actions Obama is touting are universal background checks for gun sales, the reinstatement and strengthening of an assault weapons plan, tracing seized weapons and aggressively prosecuting gun crimes.
The uncertainty of what the future holds has led to the recent gun-related buying frenzy.
"I'm also a police officer with the Leesburg Police Department, and I am hearing it from both sides," Herndon said. "I've had people ask me 'What's gonna happen? Will you be coming for my guns?' I've been buying guns for the past 18 years, and I have never seen it like this."
The uncertainty has led to a seller's market.
"I'm pretty sure they (anti-gun) groups will go after the AR-15s and high-capacity magazines," Herndon said. "We used to pay around $800 for an AR-15, now we are seeing prices around $1,100 to $1,200. Despite that, we've sold more than 40 over the past month. We also used to buy high-capacity magazines (loosely defined as holding 30 rounds) for $15 each; now they are going for $75.
"I don't see this dying down anytime soon until people get a better idea of what's going to happen."
"I don't think it matters how high the prices get because the demand is not going to go away," he said. "Even our distributors can't keep up with the demand. We can't keep our hands on them. People are grabbing them up after we barely have them out of the system and priced.
"There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a lot of price-gouging going on, and this is not ending any time soon."