Gun Sales: A Political Issue?

5:47 PM, Sep 17, 2012   |    comments
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An article published in the Wall Street Journal discusses the perception that President Barack Obama's win or loss in the upcoming 2012 election could have a dramatic effect on gun sales.

During the first eight months of 2008, the FBI performed 7,499,680 background checks on individuals attempting to purchase a firearm. This year, during that same time period, the FBI has performed 11,728,224 background checks.

In addition, multiple retail outlets and companies that sell guns have reported an increase in gun sales.

So, WFMY News 2 analyzed the records of both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Here is what we found:

* Mitt Romney joined the National Rifle Association in 2006, just before his first run for the Whitehouse.
* Back in 1994 Romney said, according to the AP, "I don't line up with the NRA."
* As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed an assault weapons ban and raised the state's gun registration fee.
* Several years later, Romney declares May 7, "Right to Bear Arms" day in his state.
* Romney spoke to members of the NRA earlier this year and said, "We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners. President Obama has not. I will."

* President Barack Obama is not a member of the NRA. The group has come out strongly against Obama, even publishing a timeline of what it calls, "Obama's anti-gun record."
* The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave the President an "F" because it said he was not tough enough on guns and gave in too much to gun supporters.
* As an Illinois Senator, Obama supported banning semi-automatic weapons and tightening state restrictions on guns.
* As President, Obama signed bills that allow guns in national parks and on Amtrak.
* Last month, the President's spokesperson said Obama does support renewing the assault weapons ban.
* The President has repeatedly said over the years you can protect the second amendment and keep assault weapons out of criminal's hands.

We discovered both candidates have a history of taking steps that are pro and anti-gun. But, is there really a threat to gun rights regardless of who wins this upcoming election? We asked Elon University Professor Dion Farganis.

"President Obama, in some ways, is the best thing to happen to the gun industry since the bullet. He drives up gun sales unlike any other elected official we've seen in recent memory. So, what's happened is the National Rifle Association has realized that folks will buy more guns if they believe the President is going to take their guns away," Professor Farganis said.

Farganis says Obama's statements and actions before he was elected President could be to blame. What about Romney? Farganis says he's changed directions, too.

"When he was Governor of Massachusetts, he actually did support gun restrictions that are more strict than President Obama has had while he has been in office. But, now, on the campaign trail, because he knows he needs to appeal to middle of the road voters, he's taken a much more centrist position," Farganis said.

No matter who wins, Farganis says you should not expect any major changes to gun laws. If you notice, both campaigns have avoided making this a major topic on the campaign trail.

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