Gun sales soar in 2013

Posted: January 7, 2014

The Winchester Star

Daniel Blye holds an Uzi in his gun shop, Omega Arms, on Millwood Ave. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Fear of potential legislation that could restrict the sale of some firearms helped drive gun sales this holiday season, according to area gun dealers.

And for some, it was busy all year.

Bill Randolph, owner of Stonewall Firearms at 2426 Valley Ave., said the rush to buy firearms started in late 2012 when President Obama proposed banning the sale of certain firearms after 26 children and adults were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“He came out talking about wanting to ban everything,” Randolph said.

As a result, he said, “Everything is in high demand — guns, rifles, ammo.”

Stonewall Arms sells all types of firearms, including handguns, rifles and shotguns, as well as accessories.

“We sell the ARs, all your [military] surplus, imported Russian stuff, AKs, the World War II guns,” Randolph said. “The holidays are usually busy. It’s the best time of the year. It’s been very busy with hunting season, too.”

For Daniel E. Blye, owner of Omega Arms, located in the back of Blye’s Jewelers at 101 Millwood Ave., it was a great holiday shopping season.

“[We had] at least [a] 50 percent increase in sales over last year,” Blye said. “[It’s because] the government is trying to play games with us and they’re indicating that somewhere down the road pretty soon they’re going to try to pass legislation that outlaws certain kinds [of guns] and increases the taxes on purchasing certain firearms.”

Blye also is doing a brisk business “selling small-caliber revolvers to females for personal protection,” he said.

The result of the uptick in firearms purchases, he added, is that everyone who buys a gun wants to buy ammunition “and ammo is starting to get extremely difficult to find.”

Statewide, the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center reported that there were more than 429,000 guns sold in 2013 through November, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. That was an increase of 17.5 percent from the first 11 months of 2012.

The day after Thanksgiving, there were 3,902 gun transactions, up from 3,856 the previous year, breaking the single-day sales record set in 2012, the Times-Dispatch reported.

“Any time [Obama] speaks about gun control, you can pretty much guarantee the gun sales are going to increase,” said Doug Hackworth, owner of Defensive Training Solutions in Berryville.

Hackworth said he had a “tremendous” amount of sales during the first six months of 2013.

“And then the supply pretty well dried up,” he said. “Now, it’s just starting to catch back up again.”

Guns are always popular at the holidays, both for personal use by the buyer and as gifts, said Dennis Connor, owner of Cedar Grove Guns in Winchester.

Besides buying firearms for personal protection, “more people [are] buying hunting rifles because they’re trying to provide for their family food,” he said.

At Miller Hardware at 208 Centre Drive in Stephens City, sales during the Christmas season were good, but not like they were during the “craze back when we had the Connecticut deal, and the government started talking about banning guns,” owner Bill Miller said. “They went crazy here.”

Miller also said ammunition is selling quickly.

— Contact Sally Voth at svoth@winchesterstar.com