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Gun, ammunition sales remain robust across the U.S.

May 15, 2009 |  8:27 am

Newly manufactured 5.56mm cartridges are seen at Stone Hart manufacturing in Miami in April. Ammunition suppliers nationwide are reporting a shortage due in part to a sharp rise in gun sales.

If we weren't a well-armed society before, we're fast becoming one as hunters, target shooters and regular Joes continue to purchase firearms at a robust pace.

Data released by the FBI's National Instant Background Check System reported 1,225,980 checks in April, marking it the sixth consecutive month of increases and a 30.3% increase compared with last April. The checks are required for all people buying weapons from licensed retailers.

In related news, forearm and ammunition manufacturers paid more than $98.1 million in federal excise taxes in the fourth calendar quarter of 2008. (These taxes are a major source of wildlife conservation funding.)

I've noticed this trend twice recently after walking into the Turner's Outdoorsman store near my house. The fishing department was virtually empty while the hunting department bustled with people interested in buying firearms.

Reasons for the trend? It began when it became evident Barack Obama would win the presidential election, because of concerns he'd enact stricter gun-control measures. It was fueled by Mexico's drug war as politicians began to demand stricter measures to prevent the flow of weapons into Mexico. Uncertainty caused by the recession is also believed to be a factor.

Are we a safer society because of this? Probably not, but those with new weapons might feel more at ease.

— Pete Thomas

Photo: Newly manufactured 5.56mm cartridges are seen at Stone Hart manufacturing in Miami in April. Ammunition suppliers nationwide are reporting a shortage due in part to a sharp rise in gun sales. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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