Gun sales slow with economy

Guns are a red-hot item in Grand Junction, but it wasn’t long ago that firearms sales were white-hot.

Retailers in Mesa County said they’re seeing a slowdown similar to one reflected in statewide numbers of Instachecks reported by the federal government to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Instachecks are the required background checks of gun buyers to make sure they legally can purchase a gun.

The slowdown doesn’t reflect a lack of interest in firearms, said Jim Palmer at the gun counter of Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods, 445 W. Gunnison Ave.

“We’ve got a lot of people looking, but nobody’s got any money to spend,” Palmer said.

In January, according to statistics on the CBI Web site, there were 16,258 Instachecks logged in Colorado. In January 2009, there were 19,285, according to the site.

Through 2009, there were 208,025 Instachecks conducted in Colorado, with 20,825 in December.

In 2008, there were 202,772 Instachecks, and in 2007, there were 160,456.

Sales at Jerry’s Outdoor Sports were running counter to the trend, up more than 50 percent over last year, said Norm Kinney, who works at the gun counter.

Sales at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Grand Junction are doing well, especially with handguns, said gun manager Fred Ladage.

“It seems there are some we just can’t get in fast enough,” he said. “There’s actually a lot of gals coming and getting small handguns.”

That didn’t surprise Linn Armstrong, who conducts handgun-safety and concealed-weapons permit classes in Grand Junction.

Women, who once made up 20 percent of his classes, now account for 50 to 55 percent of them, Armstrong said.

Armstrong dismissed the idea that continuing interest in firearms is driven primarily by perceptions of President Obama.

“It still goes back to 9/11,” Armstrong said, referring to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Women are taking charge of their lives, and firearms are part of it in ways they weren’t before 9/11.”

Women are more and more becoming primary breadwinners and, Armstrong said, “They’re just not going to be victims anymore.”


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