Reported By Joseph Pleasant, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Gun sales nationwide and in Tennessee are topping record levels for 2012.
So far this year, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, which runs background checks for the purchase of weapons, reports 379,209 checks through November.
That already surpasses the 347,792 background checks for all of 2011. The numbers could represent a fraction of the actual number of guns purchased because one background check can be run for the purchase of multiple guns during a single transaction.
At Guns and Leather in Hendersonville, owner Dennis Williams is seeing around a 15% increase in sales over last year.
He attributes some of it to the economy and some to news reports of crime.
"The people are getting a little loose and are getting tired of not spending money," he said. "Plus, there is a lot of crime and a lot of things going on today that makes people feel like they need a gun."
He continued, "I am not going to deny that they do."
Nationwide, the FBI recorded 16,808,538 background checks as of November for 2012. That number is already 350,000 more than last year.
Eric Peek is purchasing a new shotgun. He has been a longtime gun owner, but recently noticed more of his co-workers expressing interest in purchasing guns.
"I work with a lot of ladies and some of them have asked me about guns they want to buy for self protection," he said.
Peek also said gun control laws on the books should not be tightened, because it will prohibit law abiding citizen's access to weapons.
"The problem I have with that is the people we need to protect ourselves against don't pay attention to any of the laws anyway," he said. "They are criminals they are not going to pay attention to the law. The law abiding citizens follow the law so it is kind of a moot point."
Because of the rush on weapons manufacturers are warning dealers that some weapons will be in short supply and certain types of ammunition will also be scarce.
"Right now we can't get what we can sell," Williams said, "so we have to put a little limit on what a customer can buy at one time."
Ammunition prices are expected to jump by as much as 20% next year. Many dealers are buying up ammunition now to lock in the current price.
"I know the American manufacturers of ammunition are at capacity I think it's kind of like the oil refineries they are not building any new ones," he said.
That could cause a shortage of the more popular types of ammunition in 2013.