Rapid Fire Arms struggles to keep inventory on shelves

by: SANDY PHOTO PHOTO: SEAN HIGGINS - POST PHOTO: SEAN HIGGINS Rapid Fire Arms owner Brian Coleman says his inventory is disappearing off the walls of his Sandy store.The phenomenon that has been sweeping the country continues in Sandy as gun and ammunition sales skyrocket.

In Sandy, Rapid Fire Arms has seen a significant increase and has struggled to keep inventory on the shelves, according to owner Brian Coleman.

“We typically have 600 to 700 guns in here at any one time,” he said. “We’re at around a quarter of that right now.”

Last Thursday, Jan. 24, Coleman received a shipment that contained about 40,000 rounds of ammunition, and by about 3 p.m. he had about 20,000 left.

He expected that shipment to be completely sold by the following day.

“We have no guarantees,” he added. “The whole supply chain across the nation is in shambles right now. “

However, he does continue to receive shipments of inventory, but at a much slower pace than he’s been accustomed to.

“There are things coming in but it’s very slow to get here,” he said. “What would normally take us a day or two to get shipped is now taking weeks or months. Basically anytime we get shipments in and have the shelves full, a line will start forming. Word gets out pretty quick and people travel from pretty much everywhere to get what they can get.”

The leap in gun sales also has been accompanied by a rise in the number of applications for concealed carry permits in Clackamas County. What’s behind that sudden rise is open to debate.

“I don’t know what you would attribute it to,” said Sgt. Adam Phillips, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. “Whether it be the election, or if it was the conversation about the gun violence stuff related to Sandy Hook Elementary, whether it was an end of the year thing and people were simply due to renew. You have to account for all of those in the discussion because I can’t tell you which one it was for.”

What is known is that President Barack Obama announced on Jan. 23 that he would take action on 23 points by executive order along with proposed legislation requiring universal background checks for gun sales, restrictions on magazine capacities, and a ban on military assault-style rifles, which are all related to reducing gun violence across the United States.

The president’s orders came in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre and include measures to protect schools from future tragic events.

The Obama administration also released a statement from the president via Facebook on Monday:

“If, like me, you want this time to be different, then I need your help to make it different. Ask your member of Congress if they support universal background checks and renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

Guns matching those descriptions are now becoming harder and harder to find, and prices have doubled and tripled, according to Coleman, who’s business is booming.

“To be totally honest, the president has been the gun salesmen of the decade,” Coleman said. “He was gun salesmen of the year four years ago, and he’s now easily of the decade.”

A basic model AR-15, similar to that of the M-16A1 used by much of the military, previously sold for an average of $1,500, Coleman said. But since Sandy Hook, the sale price has risen to $7,000 to $8,000, depending on the model.

“A lot of people are buying them and then turning around and selling them online,” he added.

Permit applications for carrying a concealed weapon are on the rise and finding a seat to one of Coleman’s classes will be tough to come by.

“Every one of our classes is full right now,” he said. “We’re trying to add more classes to meet demand. Every aspect of the gun industry has seen a huge increase.”

The Sheriff’s Office also reports an increase. However, Phillips is wary to attribute the cause to any particular reason.

“In 2012 we had 5,212 applicants,” Phillips said. “Dec. 1-14 we had 328 applicants; from Dec. 15-31 we had 614 applicants. That’s only the people who have applied for it, not people who have been issued (a concealed carry permit).”

Because of an Oregon law regarding the confidential nature of concealed carry permits, Phillips was unable to divulge the number of applicants who were issued permits.

But so far this year, according to Coleman, the state is on record pace to be one of the most successful years in gun sales, ever.

“Oregon alone has done over 25,000 gun checks this month (as of Jan. 24), and that’s a minimum of one gun,” he said, explaining that each check could be for multiple guns.

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