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Guns Sales Boom as the Presidential Election Draws Near

DENTON, TX – Gun sales are at an all-time high across Texas, and a number of buyers believe President Barack Obama’s inevitable re-election is fanning the flames in the current race to purchase more arms.

The number of concealed carry permits in Texas has almost doubled every year since 2006. But the race for firearms isn’t found only in the Lone Star State. Nationwide, more people than ever are buying firearms. In 2011 the FBI received more than 16.3 million inquiries for criminal background checks on potential gun buyers. That’s up from 11.4 million in 2007

Kentucky led the nation for background checks over the last four years with 2 million, followed by Texas with 1 million. This past January marked the 20th consecutive month of increased firearm background checks nationwide.

Brisk sales have created a nationwide shortage of firearms and ammunition, reports the Star-Telegram. The sale of Glock hand guns alone rose 71 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010.

Fort Worth gun shop owner DeWayne Irwin says the rush is similar to the one shortly after the president’s 2008 election. “We’re at the top of the roller coaster and we’re about to plummet down the side,” said Irwin, owner of the Cheaper Than Dirt gun store in north Fort Worth, which set a sales record for the month of February. “It’s fixing to happen again. I don’t know if it will be to the same extent it was before, but I see it coming.”

Irwin attributes the current rise in gun sales to growing concerns Barak Obama will win re-election. “Look who the Republicans are trying to put against Obama,” he said. “It’s the Keystone Kops and people are getting scared. People are terrified he’s going to get re-elected and then he won’t care about getting votes next time. He’ll just pass whatever legislation he wants.”

Alan Korwin, author of nine books on gun laws and operator of a gun laws website, agrees that some are worried Obama’s re-election would embolden a major gun control push. Korwin said people worry that if Obama wins “he will go after firearms in a way we have never seen before.” Like Irwin, he believes much of the rise in gun sales is driven by the perceived disarray in the field of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

With incidents like the failed Justice Department’s Fast and Furious operation, many are becoming more aware of gun opponent’s new tactics. The state of Maryland, for example, enacted a statute requiring state residents to show “good and substantial reason” to get a handgun permit.

A federal judge ruled Maryland’s attempt at gun control unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg wrote that the statute was in essence a “rationing system, infringing upon residents.” He further ruled that states can channel the way their residents exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms, but because Maryland’s goal was to minimize the number of firearms carried outside homes by limiting the privilege to those who could demonstrate “good reason,” it had turned into a question of basic gun ownership rights.

“A citizen may not be required to offer a `good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights,” he wrote. “The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”

Raymond Woollard of Hampstead Maryland was the plaintiff in the case. He obtained a handgun permit after fighting with an intruder in his home in 2002, but was denied a renewal in 2009 because he could not show he had been subject to “threats occurring beyond his residence.” Woollard appealed, but was rejected by the review board, which found he hadn’t demonstrated a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun as a reasonable precaution.

“People have the right to carry a gun for self-defense and don’t have to prove that there’s a special reason for them to seek the permit,” said his attorney Alan Gura. “We’re not against the idea of a permit process, but the licensing system has to acknowledge that there’s a right to bear arms.”

Many states require gun permits, but Illinois has a ban and six states, including Maryland, issue permits on a discretionary basis, Gura said. In most of those states, these challenges have not succeeded in U.S. District Courts, but they are being appealed, he said.

With two anti-gun Supreme Court justices and at least one more wavering, these cases become more and more important in the battle to preserve the Second Amendment.

Though often lost in the wake of pressing economic and foreign affairs issues, the president’s ability to appoint justices has the most long-term effect on the direction of our country, highlighting again, why many law-abiding citizens who have purchased firearms for their own protection are nervous about the upcoming election.

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