It wasn’t too long ago the AR-15 assault rifle – one of the several guns targeted by President Barack Obama during his push for a sweeping assault-rifle ban – was nearly impossible to find, said J.D. Hubbard, a salesman at Quintard Jewelry and Pawn.
“You couldn’t keep them, if you even had any,” Hubbard said, noting by March the demand of the guns many feared would be federally banned was far outpacing supply. “You couldn’t even get them in.”
Then in April, Congress did little, and a ban never came to fruition. Since then, things have been pretty much back to normal, said Mike Burdett, the owner of Mike’s Treasure Chest.
“It’s leveled off considerably,” Burdett said. “I don’t think it’ll get back up there, people were just worried about the ban.”
That hasn’t deterred Weaver resident James Goode from his dream of opening up his own gun manufacturing business, making and selling AR-15 assault rifles, in the city before the year’s end.
Goode originally hoped his business would already be open and manufacturing weapons by now. Shortly after announcing in January to the Weaver City Council his intent to get a business license and a federal firearms license to operate the Fawkes and Wulfe Armory at the closed Weaver Grocery Store on Main Street, his biggest investor backed out.
Goode said talk of a ban made people nervous about investing in the gun business, but only made him more determined to get started manufacturing the AR-15.
“The short answer is greed,” Goode said with a laugh, explaining why right now is as good a time as any to sell the gun. “If you go on a website selling AR-15s, 95 percent of them are going to be sold out.”
Goode said at the beginning of the year people were afraid the AR-15 wouldn’t be available after a federal weapons assault ban, but local dealers said the demand isn’t anywhere near where it was just a few months ago.
“If you’re relying solely on the gun business, it’s probably not looking as great as it was,” Hubbard said. “It’s tough.”
Hubbard said compared to this time last year, gun sales are still up, but have tapered way down from January and February highs.
“I think people’s fears lessened,” Hubbard said. “I think it eased their minds a lot.”
Goode said it’s his intention to start manufacturing the AR-15 in Weaver by October if he gets the federal firearm license. He admitted he didn’t know what the demand would be for the gun at the time, but is banking on Fawkes and Wulfe getting word-of-mouth as a quality product to keep business afloat.
“It’s always been a very sturdy gun,” Goode said. “So, even if it isn’t in high demand, we’ll still be able to be doing good business.”
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.