Gun Show Highlights Spike In Gun Sales - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Gun Show Highlights Spike In Gun Sales


Some are calling it a firearms frenzy. The gun show in town over the weekend saw a record turnout with close to 4,000 people. Sellers say there's been a big surge in those people buying.

The number of people getting permits in Iowa is up since concealed carry took effect. The state issued 100,000 permits to carry in 2011. That's up 170 percent from the year before. In several counties, including Scott, permits to carry went up more than 270 percent.

"Americans are arming themselves. They're buying more guns, buying more ammunition," said Mark Quade with Big Bore Enterprises. Quade helps organize and promote the annual gun show in Davenport.

It could be thanks to tax refund season, or it could be politics, but many chock this surge in gun sales up to changes in permit laws. "They're passing concealed carry laws now. With those laws being passed people are out buying guns and protecting themselves with it," said Alex Siegfried, who is in the market for a new gun.

One new trend dealers are seeing is that one in three people buying a gun is a woman. Donna Bengtson is one of them. "I don't always feel safe by myself so I thought might as well be protected. I travel sometimes for work by myself," said Bengtson.

Enthusiasts say recent surges have caused huge backlogs among manufacturers. "We've seen shortages in ammunition, now we see certain guns hard to get," added Quade.

But what they're getting dealers are they're selling. Over the weekend Gary Boswell sold dozens of firearms at the gun show. Many of them to were to first time buyers. "We talk about safety a great deal. All the guns are sold with a trigger lock so we talk about that. We encourage them to go to training, though to get permits they have to go to some training," said Boswell.

Some say concealed carry hasn't been right on target for everyone. Dealers say along with the spike in sales they've seen some common misconceptions. Where the permit stands as far as private property is one of them. "It's your right to say you need to stop at the door, take your gun back to the car, and then you can come into my business. That's probably the biggest issue that I see," said Quade.

The up-tick isn't just Iowa. Nationally, FBI background checks for gun sales increased to 14.4 million in 2010 from 8.5 million in 2003. Numbers for all of 2011 aren't available yet, but if there was a record number of background check requests on Black Friday, nearing 130,000. Also, buyers often take home more than one gun.

In Illinois it is against the law to carry a concealed weapon. The state is the only one in the union without a concealed carry law on the books. Many people are working to change that and they may be getting closer to succeeding. A House committee recently okayed the latest attempt at concealed carry. The measure now heads to the full House.

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