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Stocks down at gun shops

Local sellers see supplies fly off the shelves in the midst of proposed weapons bans.

February 09, 2013|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
  • Gun World in Burbank and other area shops have experienced an increase in sales leading to a number of back orders. Owners cite President Obama's call for tighter gun regulations.
Gun World in Burbank and other area shops have experienced… (File Photo )

With the nation locked in the politics of a gun control debate, local vendors say a nationwide rush by gun buyers has made it difficult to serve their customers.

The tight nationwide supply has frustrated local gun dealers and their ability to satisfy increased demand in the wake of President Obama's push for tighter gun control measures.

Robert Ron, manager at Gun Gallery in Glendale, said sales at the store picked up for two weeks after Obama's statement on gun control, but hit a wall when the store was unable to restock much of its merchandise.

“If we have no products to sell, business is bad,” he said. “Everything is back-ordered.”

Jeff Bregman, owner of American Gun Works in Glendale, said sales increased from around $40,000 in November to $80,000 in December, but with stores in other states reporting record demand, many of the items he's trying to get have been put on back order.

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Take semi-automatic rifles based on the Colt AR-15 chassis — the model of weapon that became an item of national focus after one such variation, a Bushmaster X-15, was used by Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“Right after the big event it was, ‘I've got to get it before they take it away from me.' That was the prevailing attitude,” said Bregman. “If I had more of them I'd be selling more of them every day of the week.”

American Gun Works is one of 15 businesses licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, to sell firearms and ammunition in Glendale. There are 10 more in Burbank, but only a handful of those licenses belong to retail shops.

The other licenses belong to independent dealers who sell antiques, pawn shops, Big 5 sporting goods stores, and companies that lease weapons to the film industry.

Most vendors are now reporting a six-month to one-year wait list for AR-15 style rifles, but Bregman said they aren't the “bread and butter” of his retail business.

Hunting rifles, general handguns and sporting shotguns are keeping his sales up now, he said, but now even ammunition supplies are running low.

“People are buying what they can get in .223 and .556 and .308,” he said. “Military calibers, I am begging my distributors for every piece I can get.”

In addition, the supply of .22 Long Rifles, the small caliber used in many first-time firearms training programs, is totally cleaned out across the country, said Bregman.

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