The Obama administration has triggered another frenzy of gun buying – and perhaps a specific gun shortage — with sanctions designed to punish Russia for supporting rebels in Ukraine.
Sales of Russian-made weapons such as the legendary AK-47 semiautomatic rifle have skyrocketed because a new ban will halt imports of the guns.
Gun dealers have reported that demand for Russian weapons has tripled or quadrupled since Obama announced the sanctions. One of the firms hit by the sanctions is Kalashnikov Concern, which manufactures AK-47s, shotguns and other weapons sold in the US.
“As soon as people think that they are not going to be able to get these weapons, they start rushing out and they need to buy them while they’re available,” said Alexander Kaufman, a business fellow at the Huffington Post.
“This is definitely something that people are rushing out for.”
There are no hard figures, but anecdotal evidence collected from gun dealers points to a nationwide run on Russian-made guns. Examples include:
- The Armageddon Armory, a gun store in Nampa, Idaho, which sold 60 Saiga automatic shotguns made by Kalashnikov in a few days.
- Atlantic Firearms, a gun distributor in Maryland, reported selling 400 Russian-made weapons in a few days. The distributor has had to delay orders because of the increased business. Atlantic has announced delays on its website.
- Fuquay Gun in North Carolina. “We’ll probably be out within the next two three days,” Clay Ausley, the owner of Fuquay Gun, told a local TV station. Ausley said a run on Russian-made weapons began as soon as the sanctions were announced.
Investors Behind The Shortage?
Ausley blamed the run on Russian guns on hunters and collectors who are afraid that Russian-made AK-47s will no longer be available. He noted that the AK-47 is a historic and perhaps iconic weapon. Many collectors value the AK-47 because of its association with the Soviet Army and the Cold War.
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Investors are also buying up Russian-made weapons because they think their price is about to double in price, Jim McComas, the owner of Carolina Gunrunners, a gun store in Raleigh North Carolina, speculated.
“People will buy them like any other commodity because they think the value is gonna go up,” McComas said of Russian-made AK-47s.
Another reason for the demand is the high quality of Kalashnikov-made weapons, which many people think to be superior to other AK-47s on the market.
Versions of the AK-47 are made in several countries, including Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the United States.
“The Russian AK-47s are known to be the best of the best,” noted Terra Burke of Firing Line, a gun retailer in Oklahoma.
Ban Not Prompted by Flight MH17 Tragedy
Obama put the sanctions into effect before the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. The sanctions are designed to punish Russian leaders and companies for supporting pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine.
The good news for AK-47 fans: Their favorite weapon is still legal in most of the US. The sanctions simply bar the import of new Kalashnikov-made weapons. Existing weapons and AK-47 copies made outside of Russia can still be sold.
What do you think of the sanctions that will impact the availability of certain guns and AK-47 models? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.