Oklahoma City gun retailers report surge in sales

The number of people buying guns, particularly military-style AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, is higher now than it's ever been, Oklahoma City store owners say.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: December 28, 2012

President Barack Obama has said he supports a plan by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to reinstate the ban.

“People are noticeably talking about what the president and pundits have said,” Hall said.

Hall's store has sold out of AR-15s, military-style semi-automatic rifles like the one used in the Newtown attacks.

Officials have said one of the weapons used in the school shooting was a .223-caliber Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Waiting lists for the rifles are full, and the store is no longer keeping one, Hall said.

“We sold completely out of all platform units that could be sold to the general public, as well as magazines and many other accessories for these firearms,” Hall said.

Hall said popular television shows are bringing in new customers.

AMC's zombie thriller “The Walking Dead” has popularized target shooting and piqued interest in shooting in general, he said.

Mike Blackwell, owner of Big Boy's Guns & Ammo, said there was a surge of gun purchases following President Barack Obama's election in 2008 and re-election last month. Talk of stricter gun laws has encouraged even more sales.

“It's created a fear-factor,” Blackwell said. “People want to be able to possess something that's still legal.”

Blackwell said the swell in sales has been primarily of the military-style guns like the AR-15. He has sold more than 200 in the past week, compared to the few dozen he normally sells in that time period.

In December, the shop sold 40 percent of its inventory in seven days. The shop normally has about 1,800 firearms in stock.

A wall in his shop normally full of rifles was empty Thursday, and Blackwell said the sales staff is stretched thin.

“We've had a huge influx of people and have called in seasonal help, family and friends to work.”

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