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Spike in local gun sales follows national trend

December 20, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer ( , The Journal

NEW ULM - Although lines are not extending outside stores here like they are in some big cities, two local businesses report they have only a small number of guns available for sale.

Francis Rieger at R&R Bait & Tackle, 1405 N Broadway, said he's been selling about 30 guns a week. He's got a couple rifles on hand in his store.

"Everybody wants automatic or semi-automatic, high-capacity guns," Rieger said. "There's a (supply) backlog right now on some guns, but I've been getting others in."

Article Photos

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Francis Rieger stands in front of a near-empty gun case at R&R Bait & Tackle, 1405 N Broadway. Rieger said gun sales #are up and that he sells about 30 a week.

Rieger said gun sales spike whenever the government changes gun regulations or people fear that will happen.

"When the federal government changed some gun laws a few years ago, you couldn't get hold of guns," Rieger added. "There was another run on guns before (President) Obama got in office. People were afraid they'd lose their right to own pistols or rifles. They want to get grand-fathered in before gun laws change."

Rieger said there is a recent sales run on ammunition too.

"People are buying ammunition by the case," Rieger added.

Know any survivalists?

Rieger said he knows of a local disabled man who enjoyed target practice events at a local gun range before he bought an old gold mine, built a fence around it, bought several large dogs, and moved to Arizona.

A Retzlaff Ace Hardware spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous, said customers are looking for any type of gun they can get their hands on.

"One distributor shut down the sale of semi-automatic pistols until after the Christmas holidays," the spokesperson said. "They didn't say if it was due to a cooling-off period or if sales just got out of control."

The store sold nine handguns and had two guns left in stock Wednesday morning. Other guns are on order. Some gun salespersons are allocated limited numbers of guns to sell until after the Christmas season, the spokesperson said.

"There are lots of anti-gun people too, but firearms sales always spike when the government is considering gun law changes," the spokesperson added.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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