Taking arms against the recession

Testing a a semi-automatic pistol at a gun store in Las Vegas

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Here's an industry that may not be recession-proof, but actually recession-enabled. Sales of guns and ammo are on the rise, which is good news for firearms makers such as Smith & Wesson. The Massachusetts-based company reports its earnings after the bell today. From the Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, here's Mitchell Hartman.


Mitchell Hartman: Even on a sunny day in Portland, the customers pile into Northwest Armory, a busy gun shop. Karl Durkheimer is the owner.

Karl Durkheimer: This is a striker-fired, polymer-framed gun, and it's in 40 Smith & Wesson caliber, and it's ready to fire.

Analysts expect strong sales from Smith & Wesson. Durkheimer isn't surprised. He says their handgun business is doing particularly well.

Durkheimer: Anything that you would be using for personal protection is selling much more than any kind of a sporting arms right now.

Durkheimer says many of the people buying pistols are first-time owners, and he's selling a lot of ammo.

Durkheimer: They're worried about how do I take care of myself, how do I take care of my family, how do I take care of my property. Because, you now, they love their country, and they fear their government.

The FBI reports firearm permits soared nationwide after Democrats swept into office last fall. Gun owners apparently think an assault on gun rights is only a matter of time.

In Portland, I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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