Gun Sales Up Across Northeast Oklahoma

Sunday, November 9th 2008, 6:27 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's largest gun show had record crowds this weekend and dealers say purchases are shooting up like never before.

The FBI says background checks for gun purchases are up 15% compared to last autumn. At the annual Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show, owners say this year's exhibition is significant for two reasons.

Donovan Sheer's been coming to the Wanenmacher gun show for 15 years. But he says since the election of Barack Obama, this year's exhibition has extra urgency.

"The fear is he's going to outlaw stuff, you know," said Kansas City resident, Donovan Sheer.

And he's not the only one with that point of view.

"The President elect has been known to be strictly anti-gun in the past, and people are a little leery," said Arms Show Owner Joe Wanenmacher.

Wanenmacher says 35,000 people came to the show. That's a 13% increase from last year and he says he's seeing a lot of new faces.

"I've had several people come up and ask me, ‘as new gun buyers, what would we use for home protection?', so pistols have been selling well," said Wanenmacher.

The economy is also boosting sales, peaking interest in antique guns that carry a lot of value. But most folks say they were there because of Obama.

"I think that people are very afraid of that, especially in the Midwest, where that's what we're about, Cowboys and Indians," said Kim Henningson.

Here's what we know about Obama's record. He supported an Illinois state ban on semi-automatic assault rifles. As a Senator, he voted to leave gun dealers open to lawsuits. But he says he believes in the right to bear arms.  And the Supreme Court this year upheld that right in a landmark case.

Still, national gun sales are up 10% for the year and Sheer says buying one of these could be now or never.

Some gun owners feel that with the Democrats in charge of all three branches of government, an expired federal ban on assault rifles could be reinstated.

President-Elect Obama knows that perception is out there, but he repeatedly said on the campaign trail that he's not going to take away anyone's guns away or end the right to buy firearms.