Saturday, January 26, 2013
Gun collectors and traders say the national debate over gun control legislation has been great for business.
People attending a weekend gun show in Wichita say prices for firearms are heating up in-step with the that debate. It has meant more business for gun dealers and organizers of gun shows like the one this weekend at the Kansas Pavilions.
"This one here has been a pretty typical Wichita show," said show manager Dennis Pearson.
There was still a fairly large crowd at the show Saturday. One just like it the last weekend of December was even busier. That increased attendance is part of a national trend, Pearson said.
"We've had record shows," he said. "We do about 200 of them across the country every year and every one of them has been record crowds. I mean just crazy."
Most of that demand has been driven by the ongoing debate over gun control and some lawmakers pushing for tighter restrictions on what types of guns people can buy.
"Supplies are still tight," Pearson said. "The demand is pretty high, so there again the pricing is back to supply and demand."
That is part of the reason many gun collectors take up the hobby. They see guns as a good investment.
"In the last few years, it's been better than the stock market," Pearson chuckled.
He estimated the value of firearms has increased 80 percent over the past few years, with much of that increase coming recently.
"Last year, 40 percent wholesale increase in guns," he said. "Forty percent straight across the board. You tell me the stock market did that last year."
Pearson does not expect that dynamic to change even if tighter restrictions are not placed on gun ownership.
"Guns have always gone up (in price)," he said. "They may not go up fast, but when they go up, they stay there."