Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 22, 2012

SALISBURY — A local gun store owner says assault rifles aren’t flying off the shelves — they’re purchased before they get there.
Brandon Cupp, owner of Cerberus Firearms, said ammunition and firearm sales are up this week — seven days after 26 people, including 20 children, were gunned down at a Connecticut elementary school.
The massacre has sparked outcries for gun control legislation, as well as a re-enactment of the 1994 ban on assault weapons. That ban expired 10 years from when it was signed.
Cupp said many customers are purchasing assault weapons or high-capacity magazines with the expectation that a ban will go into effect.
“They’re not buying Christmas presents. A lot of people are buying them for investment purposes,”?Cupp said. Following the 1994 ban, “they were tripling their profits.”
Cupp said many gun stores are already raising the prices of their guns. Some of them have doubled the price, he said.
Cupp has watched online prices soar this week, even for ammo.
He sold a 30-round mag for $13 earlier this week. A 100-mag case of the same clips sold online for $7,250, he said.
“I’ve got — I don’t know — 30,000 rounds ballpark guess of ammo coming next week and it probably won’t make it through the week,”?Cupp said.
Boosts in ammo sales, he said, are because customers aren’t sure what potential legislation would target.
“They don’t know which end they’re going to ban it on. Are they going to ban the guns or are they going to ban the ammo,”?he said.
Capt. John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said he signed 20 gun purchase permits Friday, an uptick in sales.
“There’s definitely been an increase,”?Sifford said.
But with Christmas, the election and recent area gun shows, Sifford said, discerning buyers’ motivation for the firearms will be near impossible.
“It’s not unusual to see a rise in December due to Christmas gifts,”?he said.
Cupp said he saw a boost following the election, but sales dipped before after the beginning of the month.
But calls for legislation restricting assault rifles or banning high-capacity clips has sent sales through the roof.
Cupp ordered an AR-15 assault rifle Monday, he said. A customer had purchased the weapon before it even got to Cupp.
“They’re selling before I?can get them into the store,” he said.