Demand for guns is soaring in the U.S. after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, pumping up the price of firearms and ammunition as sellers race to replenish their stock.
Walmart has reportedly sold out of semi-automatic rifles in five states, including Pennsylvania, Kansas and Alabama, according to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg. The nation’s largest retailer reintroduced guns to many of its stores in 2011, after a five-year period of limited availability. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg, and it said it was not willing to provide comment to HuffPost.
“It’s a money-grab out there,” said Mike McGovern, an IT project manager who said he woke up the morning after Friday’s massacre and bought a Glock 19 handgun at a Western New Jersey gun store that was packed with customers.
When McGovern returned home, he said he logged on to several online forums for gun owners and found an unusually high number of advertisements from arms dealers, including one ad that said, “Get ‘em while you still can,” referring to the prospect that last week’s shooting will lead to stricter gun control laws. Soon enough, online sellers were boosting prices, McGovern said. On CheaperThanDirt.com, a leading web-based gun store, the price of a magazine for assault weapons jumped from $30 to $60, one firearms blog noted.
Not all high-profile shootings cause gun prices to rise. The killings last summer in Aurora, Colo. didn’t boost demand for guns enough to affect prices, said S.P. Fjestad, author of the Blue Book of Gun Values, a firearms pricing guide published annually. But last week’s massacre has sparked a gun-buying craze in America that’s prompted retailers to overcharge, and consumers to overpay, said Fjestad, citing anecdotal evidence.
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