It's not the Christmas rush that's causing gun and ammunition dealers across Central and Eastern Kentucky — like their counterparts across the nation — to run out of stock and see sales doubling.
Rather, gun shop owners from Lexington, Frankfort and Hazard say the surge is a result of customers thinking that President-elect Barack Obama will reinstate a 1994 federal assault weapons ban or push for other gun restrictions.
"They are afraid that Obama will put the Clinton ban back on," said Michael Campbell, who saw his sales figures at J.T.'s Gun and Pawn Shop in Hazard increase from $15,000 in November 2007 to $50,000 last month. "It's crazy. Instead of selling one box of ammunition, we are selling a case."
Limits were placed on high-capacity handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons under the presidency of Bill Clinton. The assault weapons ban became law in 1994. When it expired in 2004, President George W. Bush did not reintroduce it.
Nationally, the FBI is reporting that criminal background checks required to purchase a gun were up 41 percent for Nov. 1-23 compared with the same period last year, and up 49 percent the week that Obama was elected.
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