While shoppers are cutting back on almost everything, sales of one item are suddenly soaring -- guns. Buyers across the country are snapping up firearms at a record pace
At 9 a.m. today, the counter was already crowded at Cheaper Than Dirt, a discount gun and ammunition store in Fort Worth, Texas.
"Everyone is here for the same reason: Buy it now or you're not going to have a chance in the future," said Charlie Street, a gun owner.
At Cheaper Than Dirt alone, more than $100,000 in guns and ammunition have been sold every day since Election Day. Buyers are stocking up before President-elect Barack Obama takes office.
"Election Day, people wake up and say, 'Obama, oh my!'" said Dewayne Irwin, owner of Cheaper Than Dirt. "It's the knee-jerk reaction but it's good for business."
Business is so good that Irwin spent the morning furiously calling suppliers to find more guns.
"You can't find an AK-47 from a distributor anywhere in the nation," Irwin said, looking at his computer and checking on inventory.
Sales are brisk across the West. Background checks for new gun owners jumped 15 percent last month, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data.
Colorado just set a record for the highest number of background checks for new gun owners, nearly 1,500 in a single day, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Obama says he supports the right to bear arms with reasonable restrictions. But that has not been enough reassurance for some people or enough to quell the spreading fear among gun owners.
The National Rifle Association Web site encouraged NRA members to go out and buy guns.The site's news scroll read, "Gun stores report brisk business after Obama election >>>> Run on Guns in Texas!"
Some guns are selling more than others. Assault rifles are especially popular because Obama supports renewing the expired federal ban on assault weapons.
For some voters, issues like the economy took precedence over gun control.
"One of the strangest things I've had happen in the past few weeks was that I've had people coming in here wearing Obama buttons and Obama T-shirts," Glen Parshall, owner of a local Fort Worth gun shop. "[They] tell me they're in here to buy them before he bans them."