ENGLEWOOD — Gun stores in Charlotte County have experienced increased sales since Election Day as local gun owners brace for an anticipated restriction of gun laws following the re-election of President Barack Obama.
“Handguns and assault rifle sales are up,” said Anne Schooley, an owner of Army-Navy Guns in Port Charlotte. “There are more concerns politically with stricter and tighter laws.”
Schooley said people tend to buy guns more for protection than hunting.
“Sales have increased,” Schooley said. “The mood is that more people are taking it more seriously now that Obama’s been re-elected.”
Carl Joseph, manager of Sportrap Gun Shop in Port Charlotte, said sales have been up 35 to 40 percent in the store since election day.
“(The sentiment among customers is) Obama (is) trying to get guns banned with the United Nations with treaties (to limit firearm production worldwide),” Joseph said. “Rather than the U.S. taking your guns away, now it’s going to be the U.N. is going to take your guns away.”
Joseph said certain firearms like AR-15s, AK-47s and similar semiautomatic weapons have seen an increase in sales because customers feel either prices may increase significantly or they may face a similar law affecting assault weapons like the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 that expired in 2004.
“My belief is that the current administration knows they can’t do it based on having a popular vote or a state-by-state referendum,” Joseph said. “They know (it will be better) if they have a worldwide consensus. Maybe most major countries won’t support it, because firearms manufacturing is a big part of their economy.”
Joseph said he is not sure what will happen with Obama’s re-election, but he will not be surprised if the administration circumvents the House and the Senate just to pass gun-control initiatives.
“I think it’s going to start off similar like the Clinton ban (on assault weapons in 1994),” Joseph said. “Everything is going to go up in price. Prices are going to be driven to the roof. The U.N. treaty…is trying to limit firearm production. It’s like the nuclear arms treaty. They’re trying to limit countries from manufacturing firearms.”
Dr. Gerald Colbert, founder of the Firearms Training Institute of Sarasota, said the Obama administration has an antigun agenda.
“They have an active policy of suppressing gun ownership,” Colbert said. Crime was reduced drastically after the Concealed Carrying Law came into effect in Florida, Colbert added.
“What bothers me is the uninformed new gun owner who buys out of fear and does not take the vigilance to learn properly how the weapon works,” Colbert said.
Rita Ferrandino, chairwoman of the Sarasota Democratic Party, said there were similar fears following the 2008 general election.
“There was this massive purchase of ammunition (in 2008) because people were afraid of legislation when there was none,” Ferrandino said. “The spike (following this election) will be similar. This country has major problems to be solved and gun ownership wasn’t an issue in this election at all. It’s just a marketing ploy from gun and ammunition manufacturers and their lobbyists like the NRA pushing to artificially create their own sales. This administration is concerned about jobs.”