ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – A major issue voters are considering when electing the next president is gun control.
The fear of tougher regulations has many racing to stores to buy one before the election.
It’s a trend happening across the country right now.
There is a fear that a new president and new congressional members could bring new rules regarding gun control.
That’s something several customers at SafeSide Tactical in Roanoke are trying to get ahead of.
“This November specifically, we’ve seen a 43 percent increase the first week of this month over the first week of last month,” said SafeSide Co-Owner Matthew Tyler.
Customers, like Stephen Handy, are thinking about how the country’s political future could affect their ability to buy guns.
“I have a few at the house right now, but I figured I might as well try and get another one in before people take over the House and end up passing legislation where it’s going to be much harder to get them,” said Handy.
SafeSide isn’t alone.
The FBI reports across the country, around 300 thousand more guns were sold in October than in September, more than a 17 percent increase.
Sales Manager Doug Hinson says those buyers are often looking specifically for assault rifles.
“There are people buying AR’s just to set aside, just in case there is a vote that goes in one way or the other towards a ban against high capacity magazines and high capacity assault rifles,” said Hinson.
SafeSide says those high capacity magazines are just as popular.
“30 round magazines are flying off of the shelf because they’re afraid that they’re not going to be able to access that second amendment right in the future,” said Assistant Store Manager David Wells.
Tyler says he saw the same thing happen four years ago during the last election.
He says people may be trying to beat the rush.
“Standard things like Glochs and 9 millimeter ammo were just impossible to get your hands on, and so that caused a price shift for a lot of people and panic buying, and so the demand rose exponentially and the supply couldn’t keep up, so people are afraid the same thing could happen again,” said Tyler.
Handy says that’s a scenario he wanted to avoid by getting his guns before the laws can change.
“You might as well take the initiative and try to get what you can while you can,” said Handy.
Tyler says many people are going to be watching what the new president does in office for the first 100 days, and whether gun control will be a focus.
Because of that, he thinks sales will remain high for at least the next several months.