Gun sales spike

Area gun dealers in the past month have had a hard time keeping up with the demand from customers for firearms.

“Anything and everything, said Adam Kordes, of National Sporting Good, Jersey Shore. “It’s not just high capacity and assault rifles. There’s folks buying snub-nosed revolvers. It’s just people who are fearful for their safety and of not being able to buy things in the future.”

Some firearms dealers believe the mass slaying of 26 people by a gunman with an assault rifle at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school Dec. 14 has apparently triggered a spurt in gun sales.

Kordes said gun sales unquestionably spiked right after last month’s school shooting.

But he said such sudden bursts of sales aren’t all that unusual.

Frank Lowe, of All-American Gun Shop, Williamsport said he has received numerous phone calls for AR-15 rifles and assault weapons in recent weeks.

Interesting enough, his inventory was gone even before the shooting.

“I don’t like to live off other people’s misery,” he said. “(But) the shooting happened about a month too late for me.”

He said all his wholesalers are out of the guns.

Other gun dealers say the demand for different firearms is making it impossible to keep them in stock.

Justin Moores, of JMG Firearms, Montoursville, said gun sales have been “out of control.”

“It’s everything,” he said. “I sell defensive-style weapons. I don’t sell much in the way of hunting rifles. But really, it’s everything across the board.”

Gene Baker, of Baker’s Gun Shop, New Columbia, said he’s selling mostly small handguns to customers.

“It’s been robust,” he said. “We are doing very, very well – better than last year. We can’t get what we need to sell. I am getting a lot of calls for high capacity clips. The ammunition is starting to dry up. Anything the American people think they can get a hold of, they will.”

Baker said he is getting a lot of customers he might not otherwise see looking to buy guns, including more than his share of women.

Moores said he depends on a small customer base, but it seems every one of those patrons have called him about a gun purchase.

“The industry as a whole is up right now,” Kordes said. “It’s not anything we haven’t seen before.”

During the past week, the Lycoming County Sheriff’s Department, which issues licenses to carry concealed firearms, reported 430 applicant permits so far in 2013.

A total of 3,924 permits were issued last year, an increase of 1,549 from the previous year.

Some gun dealers, including Kordes, said a continued demand for guns will likely depend on what sort of legislation gets passed regarding gun control.

Moores agreed.

“It largely depends on any government intervention,” he said.

Jim Feigles, of Dixie’s Gun Shop, Hughesville, said the store was certainly busy at Christmas time.

“I don’t know if it was any better than usual,” he said.

The store does not sell assault weapons, but inventory is still tight.

“It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last,” he said.