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January 5, 2013

Gun shop owners seeing spike in rifle, handgun sales

NEW CASTLE — Gun sales often pick up in the fall, but this year was different.

A scenario that included the typical fall hunting season, Christmas, the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shootings and fear among gun owners that newly re-elected Barack Obama would push Congress to curtail gun ownership boosted weapon sales beyond gun dealers’ expectations.

“This might have been our best year ever,” mused Duke Morosky, owner of Duke’s Sport Shop at 2801 New Butler Road in Shenango Township. “We’ve been very, very busy. Getting the products has been our only problem.”

Typically, Morosky said, he is busy each fall when sportsmen stop in prior to hunting season to see what’s new or to purchase a .22-caliber rifle to introduce a son or grandson to the sport.

After election day in November, however, sportsmen, and non-hunting men and women went to see what Morosky had on his shelves. He had even more customers after Christmas.

“Some had Christmas money or gift certificates and were interested in buying gun(s). Others came in because they were concerned that after the Dec. 14 shooting (in Connecticut), Congress would push interests in banning privately owned guns.”

In addition to the “usual outdoorsmen,” this year, his customers have included doctors, lawyers and office workers.

“People are looking for security,” he said.

Morosky said he has sold many handguns this year. That’s in addition to the long guns, the rifles and shotguns.

His most popular item was the AR-15, a semiautomatic weapon that resembles an assault rifle. That was the model used in the Newtown rampage and in earlier mass shootings this year in the movie theater in Colorado and at a mall in Oregon.

His most popular handgun is the Glock. These guns, he said, “are dependable, safe, easy to use and are carried by about 67 percent of all police officers.”

The .22 rifles are also popular for young hunters.

“They are economical, quiet, have almost no recoil. They are good to use to learn to shoot and take target shooting.”

Ammunition for all weapons is also selling well.

With the growing interest in gun ownership nationwide, getting people what they want has been a concern this year, and some guns are back ordered, he said.

According to a Gallup poll, almost half of all Americans reported having guns in their homes in 2011 — almost 300 million legally-owned weapons.

David Fullerton of Lone Wolf Gun Shop on Covert Road said this has been his busiest year since he opened four years ago. He said he is seeing an increased interest in handguns.

“What we can get, we can sell,” he said. “Some items, the supplier has a hard time getting for us.”

Fullerton said ammunition, also selling well, has been in good supply.

“But you never know,” he said. “People are afraid controls will be put on (guns and ammunition) and you won’t be able to get it. You just never know.”

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