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Gun sales, permit requests increase

A change this year in political leadership at the national level and a struggling economy is leading to significant increases in gun and ammunition sales and requests for concealed pistol permits.

“We have seen a sizeable increase in the number of permit requests and those requesting concealed pistol permits,” Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis said. “Compared to last year, the number of requests for both is very noticeable, and it’s amazing to see where they are coming from.”

Davis said the reason for requesting permits and purchasing pistols and rifles is protection of self and personal property.

In February 2008, the department processed 244 permits compared to 279 in February 2009 — a 12.5 percent increase. In March 2008, the department had 243 permit requests to compared to 325 this past March — a 25.3 percent increase.

“It is interesting to see how many older folks are getting permits,” Davis said. “We’ve seen women in their 70s and 80s getting permits and many for the very first time.”

Irene Hayes, who along with her husband, Ricky, own The Fishing Hole in Clanton, said they are selling more guns, pistols and ammunition then they ever have in their 20 years of operation.

“People are concerned that they might have their right to buy a gun or own a gun taken away,” Hayes said, referring to the belief that the Obama administration will increase the number of restrictions on gun purchases and ownership.

In fact, Hayes said they are having a hard time getting their hands on guns to sell.

“Our distributors have said they are having a hard time keeping up with the demand,” Hayes said. “It would seem to me that if you have a hot-selling item that you would do what it took to meet the demand.”

Davis said one of the other items he has heard of being purchased more is ammunition.

“I know people who are buying a lot of ammunition because of the rumors that ammunition will be more heavily taxed in the future,” Davis said.

As for Hayes, political changes have been good for business.

“This has been the best year we’ve had,” Hayes said. “This has been even better than Y2K.”