Run on guns driving up prices at stores and pawn shops alike

JOHN LEYH WORKS in the gun department at Big J Jewelry and Loan, 136 S. Seventh St. in Grand Junction. The run on guns that began after the election of Barack Obama is driving a lot of his business lately, Leyh said. “The redneck economy is flourishing,” Leyh said with a laugh.  A shotgun that a few months ago would have sold for $800 to $1,000 now will fetch $1,200 to $1,500, he said.

People looking to buy guns aren’t haunting just sporting-goods stores.

They’re looking as well for guns in pawn shops and reclaiming firearms they’ve already pawned.

In the process, they’re driving up the price of firearms.

John Leyh of Big J Jewelry and Loan, 136 S. Seventh St., said buyers mostly are looking for weapons he doesn’t have: assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, self-protection items.

Nonetheless, the run on guns that began with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency still affects his business, Leyh said. A shotgun that a few months ago would have sold for $800 to $1,000 now will fetch $1,200 to $1,500, Leyh said.

Still, firearms are selling, inflated prices or not.

“The redneck economy is flourishing,” Leyh said with a laugh.

The pressure on weapons purchases also has caused longer than usual delays in the processing of background checks on purchasers, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The delay in responding to instant-check applications has been as high as 3 1/2 hours, said Lance Clem, spokesman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which conducts the checks.

Requests for checks have been coming in at the rate of about 1,000 a day, Clem said.

Colorado requires checks for sales of all firearms, including handguns, rifles and shotguns. Each check is conducted by a CBI agent who makes checks on each of six databases, some “with old DOS-based screens,” he said.

In cases of long check times, he’ll hold firearms overnight for buyers whose applications eventually clear, Leyh said.

The busiest days for checks so far have been Nov. 8, a Saturday, when the CBI received 1,634 applications for checks, and last Saturday, when that number climbed to 1,831.

This weekend also could be big, but historically, the biggest day for gun checks is still to come.

That day is the Friday after Thanksgiving, Clem said.

Many potential buyers are women, and they’re often looking for Christmas gifts for their husbands or relatives, Leyh said.


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