Gun sales shoot up in Junction

A woman hefts a handgun at the Gene Taylor’s gun counter Friday.

Gun sales, already booming in the days after Barack Obama was elected president, boomed even more this week.

Men and plenty of women were out buying handguns, so-called “black rifles” and plenty of ammunition for them, gun sellers in Grand Junction said.

“We’re going to end up way, way, way above last year,” said Jerry Stehman, owner of Jerry’s Outdoor Sports, whose store was filled with gun buyers and lookers Friday afternoon.

To say gun sales are up “is an understatement,” said Howard Tietjen at the gun counter at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods.

Women account for many of the sales, Tietjen said, and one female buyer said she was purchasing a handgun as a precaution against the day that she might be prohibited from doing so.

“We try to pick one up whenever we can,” she said, referring to herself and her husband.

The change of administration to that of President Obama is driving all the business, Stehman said.

“A lot of people are being proactive” and remembering what happened under the administration of President Clinton, Stehman said.

He was referring to bans on so-called “assault rifles,” or the “black rifles,” so named for their dark color.

Chris Walker, a salesman at Jerry’s and a veteran of the war in Iraq, said he won’t call them assault rifles because “ ‘assault’ implies that you’re starting the interaction when you’re actually responding to it.”

Buyers of black rifles are looking to use them for defense, a task for which they are well-designed, Walker said.

The weapons have multiple rails that allow for a variety of add-ons, from high-tech gunsights to handles for greater control.

Some of the add-ons, such as those that use advanced optics, can cost a great deal more than the $995 price on the .223-caliber rifle, he said.

The .223 is a small round best used for small game and varmint hunting, but the gun also can be modified for larger-caliber shells, he said.

“When people ask me what would you want that for?” Walker said, “My answer is, ‘What do you want a 500-horsepower car for?’ ”

This story first appeared as an item online at on Friday.


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