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Locals buy up assault rifles and supplies

Posted: December 20, 2012 - 12:10am

Rayco Sales gun shop is sold out of the Bushmaster AR-15. Most of its assault rifles are sold out.

“It is chaos right now,” Joe Romine, gun clerk at Rayco Sales said of his supply of AR-15s. Gun suppliers “are on back order to April next year.”

Talk of an assault weapons ban has gun suppliers wary about taking orders they may not be able to fulfill, Romine said.

Customers have also been keen to purchase hard-to-find assault rifle parts and supplies. While ammunition has steadily increased in price since 2009, ammo isn’t the main concern for gun buyers right now, Romine said.

“It’s more the guns,” Romine said.

The Bushmaster AR-15 .223 caliber is one of the weapons used by 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza in the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Though business does pick up around the holiday, most customers are in the store due to recent talk in Washington, D.C. about new gun control laws.

President Barack Obama and other leaders have called for stronger gun laws including the potential banning of assault weapons. While fully automatic weapons can be purchased with the proper paperwork, most assault rifles are not sold fully automatic. They are semi-automatic — the trigger must be pulled in some fashion each time the gun is fired.

Romine said the best way to find assault rifles now is to look online.

“Buy it right out,” Romine said. “Don’t worry about the bidding.”

Romine said he predicts that a $1,500 AR-15 can triple in price over the next year.

Rayco Sales owner Ray Coxe said demand for assault rifles, particularly the AR-15, clips and gun parts has shot up as “people are realizing what might be the worst case scenario.”

Suppliers have allotted their stressed supply of guns and ammunition for the more popular calibers, Coxe said. Often suppliers are only able to send one gun to each client.

Coxe has sold guns in Juneau through Rayco Sales for nearly 30 years.

“I know everybody in town,” Coxe said. “From the good guys to the bad guys.”

He said he doesn’t see the current talk about gun control as putting an end to his business, although he said he believes there will probably be more rules and restrictions. However, he said he does not believe gun control stops gun ownership.

“I think people are going to have guns whether it is legal or not,” Coxe said.

So far, Washington’s talk about gun control has only helped sales at Rayco.

“I’m ordering  more and more stuff,” Coxe said. “I’ll have a big shipment in next Wednesday or so.”

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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