Published 12:05 am Thursday, December 20, 2012


C ovington County is following the national trend of surging gun sales.

Stokes Sporting Goods owner Carolyn Stokes agreed Wednesday that the prospect of a renewed assault weapons ban in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre has set off a round of buying, as thousands of Americans head to their local gun stores to secure the popular AR-15 – the model used by the school gunman – before potential government prohibitions on their purchase. Despite often being called a fringe gun by critics, the AR-15 is the most popular gun sold in the U.S. today, according to gun dealers. Roughly 220,000 were sold in 2010, after peaking at more than 300,000 immediately following Obama’s election.

“(Since the shooting) sales for us have been out of the roof,” Stokes said. “The shooting has really brought things to the forefront. My biggest sellers have been the AR-15 and the AK-47.”

Stokes said as soon as the models come in the door, they’re gone.

“I got in four (Wednesday), but I could have sold 30 of them (Tuesday),” she said.

Gun enthusiasts are also buying the .223 ammunition used by the AR-15 and the type of high-capacity magazines covered under the Clinton-era federal assault weapons ban, which Congress let expire in 2004.

However, Stokes said the ammo is hard to come by.

“Actually, it’s nearly impossible to get rounds for both the AR-15 and the AK-47,” she said. “The same can be said for .22 long rifle ammo. I just can’t get it. No one has any because of the demand.

“Honestly, I’ve never sold so many guns,” she said of the last week. “And that includes handguns and assault rifles.”

When asked why she believed her customers were purchasing such weapons, she said, “Because you never know when this country could fall. People want to be able to protect themselves and their families. The enemy will definitely have them.”