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Sales Fail To Spike At Atlanta Gun Stores After Vegas Shooting

An array of firearms are on display at the annual meeting of the United States Concealed Carry Association in Atlanta, Georgia.
Credit Lisa Marie Pane / Associated Press

It’s sometimes called fear-buying or panic-buying in the industry – that phenomenon of an uptick in firearms sales as politicians call for gun control measures in the wake of a deadly shooting.

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“You know, in years past it’s been like overnight doubling or even tripling business, so it’s significantly more. And we have not seen that this time,” said Eric Wallace, the owner of Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna.

Wallace said there’s been about a 20 percent bump in sales this week, but hunting season’s coming up.

Some politicians are calling for regulation after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Georgia’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis delivered a speech flanked by House Democrats Wednesday demanding gun control measures.

“Our entire industry, the gun industry, hates to see things like [the Las Vegas shooting] happen,” Wallace said. “And it’s just really so unfortunate that these anti-gun politicians never pass up the opportunity to take advantage of a tragedy for their agenda.”

But with the GOP in power in both the White House and Congress, Wallace says the threat of losing access to guns just doesn’t have the same credibility it used to.

Jack Lesher owned Chuck’s Firearms for more than 40 years – he’s a consultant there now. He said there’s been no change in sales this week. None. Lesher says it’s not just about who holds power in Washington – market saturation could be playing a role.

“In the last many years, so many people bought so much stuff, they can’t get another gun under their bed, a lot of them,” Lesher said.

Several media sources cite gun sales as dropping by roughly 20 percent since Donald Trump took office.

While reporting this story, the NRA announced it would be open to regulating “bump stocks,” an accessory the Las Vegas shooter had installed on many of his rifles.

So WABE gave Lesher a quick call back.

“They’re gizmos. So I think what the NRA thinks is, well, it’s a part. It’s a doo-dad. We’ll throw those people under the bus to retain our core of what we think about stuff,” Lesher said. His store doesn’t sell bump stocks, but he said he had gotten a couple calls from people asking if it did.