Waukesha’s Fletcher Arms not seeing ‘panic buying’
Firearm background checks continue to increase

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Dec. 10, 2015

A compact Glock pistol sits on a counter at Fletcher Arms as a customer fills out paperwork.
Freeman file photo

WAUKESHA - Gun sales are up at Fletcher Arms in Waukesha, but owner Sean Eaton said that may be more related to the holiday shopping season than as a reaction to recent mass shootings in California, Colorado and Paris.

Nationally, gun sales are up.

According to data recently released by the FBI, there were 2.24 million firearm background checks performed in November, compared to 1.8 million in November 2014. In October of this year, 1.98 million background checks were conducted. After the first 11 months of 2015, 19.8 million firearm background checks were conducted in the U.S. compared to a total of 20.97 million for all of 2014.

The number of firearm background checks conducted has steadily increased during the past 16 years, according to the FBI. For all of 1999, there were 9.14 million background checks, while a decade later in 2009 there were 14 million checks performed.

Eaton said Fletcher Arms saw people “panic buying” after President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting three years ago.

“We have not seen anything resembling that so far,” Eaton said.

Right after the Sandy Hook shooting, Eaton said he ran out of ammo in stock. Also, while Fletcher Arms typically carries about 500 guns, he was down to about 100 in stock after the 2012 shooting.

He said gun sales have increased recently, but “December is always busy for sales anyway.”

Fletcher Arms’ distributors are seeing people stocking up on some gun-related merchandise, Eaton said they have not reported any of their dealers experiencing panic buying.

Previously, when people stocked up on guns after the 2008 election and Sandy Hook shooting, Eaton said they spent a lot of money and either got what they wanted or returned to buying more typical buying patterns. While other retailers would mark up an $800 gun to $2,000 during the panic-buying, Eaton said prices remained the same at Fletcher Arms.

And while many items have a shelf life, Eaton said if ammunition is stores property, it can last many years.

While gun sales may not be through the roof at Fletcher Arms, Eaton said people using the gun range is steady.

“We have seen a lot of range increase for years now. It’s the incidents, panics. A lot of people got into it and people found out this is a fun thing to do,” he said.

In fact, the gun range has become a destination for date nights and ladies’ night, Eaton said. It also gets busier during the colder months.

Eaton said that many of his customers don’t worry about possible gun control legislation as much as they did in the past because it never passes. The presidential election and its ramifications, on the other hand, Eaton said, does have people nervous.

Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com