About The Author

Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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November 13, 2008

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Post Election Gun Sales Spike

    Not to fan any flames, but when you see headlines such as CNN's recent "Gun sales surge after Obama's election," it seems a discussion is in order. I know a few of you voiced gun concerns last week following our post on the new president elect, and headlines like these certainly echo those worries.
    According to the CNN story, a Virgina gun shop owner said that last Saturday, he did as much business in one day as he normally does in a week. Even Y2K, September 11 and Hurricane Katrina failed to produce the spike in sales that he's seen since the election.
    And he's not alone. The story goes on to cite FBI figures for the week of Nov. 3 - 9, during which the bureau got over 374,000 requests for background checks on gun purchasers, which is an almost 49 percent increase over the same period last year.
    "Every election year, you have to worry about your rights being eroded a little bit at a time," the story quotes a Va., gun buyer as saying. "I also knew, because of the Democrat majority and because of the election, everybody would have the same reaction I did."
    On the other side of the issue, the story quotes John Podesta, co-chairman of the Obama transition team as saying, "What people do is their own business, and if they decide to go out and buy guns, they'll go out and buy guns. But I think that President-elect Obama has been clear in his campaign that what he wants to focus on is the economy, trying to get jobs growing again, dealing with the health care crisis, and dealing with our dependence on foreign oil."
    And at the middle of the issue, here are then-Senator Obama's comments to Field & Stream's Anthony Licata in an October Q&A:

    LICATA: You mentioned common-sense gun legislation. Would you consider  the assault weapons ban and registration of guns to fall into that category of common-sense gun control? 
    SENATOR OBAMA: I think those are two separate issues. I think that when  it comes to the assault weapons ban, the answer is yes. I think AK-47s  generally are not used for hunting. AK-47s or vest-piercing bullets are generally used to hurt people. And I think that it's legitimate for us to say military-style weapons that aren't traditionally used for purposes other than killing people, we've got to be careful about.  But I'll be honest with you. I'm more interested in enforcing the laws that we do have-for example, tracing guns that are used in crimes back to people who have been using them. I don't anticipate that there's going to be a whole slew of efforts at the federal level when it comes to gun control. But I think that strong background checks; making sure that we're dealing with the gun-show loophole, which I think has been a  problem; allowing us to trace guns that are used in crimes back to where  they were purchased--those are the kinds of initiatives that I think pose no threat whatsoever to law-abiding gun owners.

So, where do you fall on the panic to moderate-concern spectrum? I'm personally hoping that the incoming administration has other fish to fry as it takes office during an economic crisis, but I certainly realize a lot of people aren't feeling all that "optimistic." -K.H.


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My concern is like many other folks, that the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting,rather about tyrranny, and our ability to protect ourselves from it. I like to hunt,fish hike, etc., and I like to shoot. President Obama does not understand that shooting in itself is a sport and we should not be limited to black powder(not that I have anything against black powder),that one can shoot military style weapons for sport, that may not have anything to do with hunting.
A flintlock was a state of the art military weapon for our founding fathers, but will not protect us today.
My personal soundbite is "I don't need the government to protect us from ourselves" and that is what I am afraid our new President feels should be done.

Lou Alexander

It is unfortunate that the law abiding citizen who enjoy's the shooting sports has to pay for the crimes of others with stricter regulation. That is what it boils down to, humans behaveing badly, which in turn punishes the good people. It is a fine line between protecting the good of the people and having freedoms at the same time.

The bad thing about gun regulation is if it starts, where does it stop? We have way to many laws already, which mainly protect the bad guys. We just need some good old common sense and personal responsibility. But then, the folks in politics wouldn't have jobs.


I would hope that the next 4 years will be used to straighten out so many other problems this country is having. Mr. Obama made a lot of promises and I think he is going to need every bit of his 4 years to accomplish this.

I do not plan on buying a new gun but I have been buying ammo whenever there is a sale. I target shoot less, and I guess you can say I am stock piling ammo since I know I could never afford it if it was to be taxed 500% or whatever it was that I read during the campaigning.

NorCal Cazadora

I'll buy my next gun when I'm good and ready, which is when my credit card is paid off and I can pay cash for a rifle.

Obviously, McCain was better on guns. But the realities of politics are that 1) guns won't be banned on Jan. 20, and 2) even with Dems running everything in Washington, the gun lobby is still powerful. I'm not saying we won't lose some battles in the next four years; I'm saying it's not armageddon.

Here's the more important thing: 10 million gun owners in America identify themselves as liberal, and so do 11 percent of hunters and anglers. "Liberal" is Obama's base. Another 37 percent of hunters and anglers call themselves moderates, which means a whole bunch of them likely voted for Obama.

Liberal hunters and shooters almost never speak up in forums because they get their heads bitten off. But I'll tell you this: Now is the time for them to speak up about guns and hunting rights to their new president.

And speaking of that, he's our new president too, so we should all be telling him how we feel, and what our guns and hunting rights mean to us. I covered politics as a newspaper reporter for years, and I can tell you that original emails and letters from citizens do count. (Mass-produced postcards and cut-and-paste letters/emails? Not so much.) Obama himself may not read them, but his staff will - they use letters to take the pulse of the nation.

That said, I think Paula's concern is on the money. Between rising metals cost and the fact that lawmakers - state and federal - will be looking to tax everything they can to dig us out of deficits - our ammo certainly won't be getting cheaper.