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Local stores see steady stream of AR-15 customers
Some national retailers changing gun policies after latest mass shooting
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Foxhole Guns & Archery owner Jon Lipscomb demonstrates an AR-15 rifle for sale at his Gainesville store. In the last couple of weeks, home protection weapons and ARs are selling more than normal. Local gun store owners and managers say they plan to make no changes on the age for selling guns, amid the change to Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. - photo by Scott Rogers

While some major retailers announced policy changes on firearms sales, local outlets said they would stay the course.

“We’re going to abide by the laws that’s in place. At this time, we’ll do whatever’s there. We’re not in the business of trying to change policy. I’m going to leave that to the lawmakers elected by the people,” said Judge Farmer, manager at The Outdoor Depot.

Dick’s Sporting Goods was one of several to announce policy changes following the Florida high school shooting that left 17 people dead.

The sporting goods retailer said it would stop selling guns to anyone under 21. It will also stop selling AR-style rifles at its 35 Field & Stream stores. The company stopped selling AR-15-style rifles at Dick’s stores, which has more than 700 stores, in 2012.

In recent days, Georgia Gun Store owner Kellie Weeks said it has been difficult keeping up with the demand for ARs, having sold roughly 40 to 50 per day. AR stands for Armalite rifle, named for the original designer that is now produced by numerous manufacturers. 

“Anytime you hear people talking about possibly taking some rights away or something like that, there’s always a little bit of influx,” Farmer said, who has also noticed a spike in AR sales.

The gun control debate after a shooting will drive sales, said Foxhole Guns and Archery owner Jon Lipscomb. He and other purveyors around Gainesville also said they were sticking to their current policies.

“Realistically, gun sales to 18- to 20-year-olds, we’re talking below 1 percent. How many 18- to 20-year-olds have the money to buy firearms?” Lipscomb asked.

Handguns and other home defense weapons were still some of the biggest sellers in recent days, Lipscomb and Farmer said.

Regarding national sales of AR-15s, Lipscomb said distributors have a large supply, but the demand is quickly wiping out the stock.

“I would say half of our industry betted on Hillary (Clinton) getting in, and production was going through the roof. And when she didn’t get in, there was all this stock,” he said.

Lipscomb said he personally does not want to see younger generations deprived of rights he enjoys currently.

“My thing is when it comes to gun control, it’s all political. That’s all it is. It doesn’t do anything to save lives or anything like that. And the reason why I say that is if it did, they would have done something 10 shootings ago,” he said.



Here’s where some national stores that sell firearms stand:

Walmart Inc.

The world’s largest retailer said it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21. It also said it would remove toys and other items resembling assault-style rifles from its website. Walmart, which has nearly 5,000 U.S. stores, stopped selling AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons in 2015.


Kroger Co.

The supermarket operator, which sells guns at its 44 Fred Meyer stores, said it would no longer sell firearms at those locations to anyone under 21. It had already stopped selling assault-style gun several years ago, except for in Alaska. Special orders for those guns are now unavailable in that state.


L.L. Bean

The outdoor retailer said it will no longer sell rifles to anyone under 21. L.L. Bean said it sells firearms only at its flagship store in Maine, and only guns specific to hunting and target shooting. The company said it does not carry assault-style firearms, high-capacity firearms, bump stocks or handguns.


REI

The outdoor retailer, which has more than 150 stores, said it’s halting future orders of some brands of hiking and sporting equipment that are made by Vista Outdoor, a gun manufacturer. Those brands include CamelBak water carriers, Giro helmets and Camp Chef stoves.


Bass Pro Sports

The company, which also owns Cabela’s, did not respond to repeated requests for comment this week. A lawyer representing the families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting sent a letter to Bass Pro’s CEO asking him to halt sales of assault rifles nationwide. The company has about 200 Bass Pro and Cabela’s stores.


-Associated Press

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