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Gun show draws crowds, brisk sales

December 28, 2008
Courier Journal
Source …..

A good turnout and brisk sales are marking Kenny Woods’ gun and knife show this weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center – an interest that Woods attributed to the nation’s shifting political landscape.

Woods and other firearms and ammunition dealers say sales have been upbeat as buyers worry that President-elect Barack Obama’s administration will push for changes to gun laws or possibly new taxes.

“If you want people to want something, all they have to do is think that they can’t have it,” said Woods, who lives in Hazard.

More than 2,000 people attended Friday’s opener of the three-day show. It continues tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Today’s crowd included J.B. Doyle and Mike Riddle, who drove from Glasgow. Each carried a plastic bag – Doyle bought some ammunition clips, for example – but said they were mostly browsing.

Woods said the nation’s economic downtown is changing how some buyers spend their money, viewing well-made firearms as a place to invest.

“A lot of people are taking money from the stock market and investing it in guns that they think will appreciate, and they’re very wise in doing that,” he said.

Gun dealer Jerry Rhodes of Frankfort said the flagging economy doesn’t appear to be affecting buyers who have “money set back for that particular item they’ve been looking for, no matter what the dollar amounts seem like.”

Still, Rhodes said, fears over Obama’s policies were driving increases of 200 to 300 percent in ammunition sales on Friday, compared with last year. Rhodes also said sales of magazines, where ammunition is stored, were higher.

“It’s the Obama scare. People believe he’s anti-gun, and I think people are just afraid he’s going to have an excise tax on them,” Rhodes said.

According to Obama’s presidential campaign position, Obama “is committed to upholding the Second Amendment” of the Constitution that grants citizens the right to own and bear firearms. His campaign also denied claims that he supports a new tax on guns and ammunition.

Dealer Ron McCarty of Carlisle said the Christmas holiday may have helped boost crowds, but he thinks concern about gun rights may be driving higher sales of ammunition and storage containers.

“Down there was a whole truck load of ammo cans, and they’re just about all gone,” he said, manning his display table in the expo center’s West Hall.

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