Fear and Greed Have Sales of Guns and Ammo Shooting Up

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — The way Jay Chambers sees it, the semiautomatic weapons in his firearm collection might be the most promising investment in his financial portfolio.

Like many gun enthusiasts, Mr. Chambers, a manager for a door wholesaler here, believes President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress soon will reimpose a version of an expired federal ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons. If such a law passes, he figures his collection — enough guns, ammo magazines and weapon parts to assemble about 30 AK-47s, AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles — could triple in value.

“A guy could easily make a lot of money,” says Mr. Chambers, 47 years old, while at Autrey’s Armory, a gun store about 20 miles south of Atlanta.

Purchases of guns and ammunition are surging across the country. Nearly four million background checks — a key measure of sales because they are required at the purchase of a gun from a federally licensed seller — were performed in the first three months of 2009. That is a 27% increase over the same period a year earlier, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

GO TO FULL STORY