Presidential election once again affecting gun sales

- The men and machines at Radical Firearms in Stafford are working around the clock. Sales are, if you pardon the pun, booming.

“It's jumped up quite a bit,” says Mel Miranda. The company supplies large retailers and wholesalers with AR15-style rifles and has a small retail showroom. 

A few months ago, the store was getting 8-to-10 thousand orders for completed rifles per month. Miranda says that number has almost doubled recently.

“Hunting season is always a big turnout and of course, the election," explains Miranda. "Elections are typically pretty big.” Really big. 

Tracking gun sales is difficult, but the FBI tracks background check requests, which are a pretty good yardstick of measurement. In September 2012, the FBI performed 1.4 million background checks -- for September of 2016, it increased to 2 million.

Where do the candidates stand on guns?            

According to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's website, he wants to appoint pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court justices, enforce existing gun laws and fix the mental health system.

According to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's website, she wants to expand background checks including closing the gun show loophole. She calls for the ban of "military style weapons" from the streets and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, violent criminals and the mentally ill.            

President Barack Obama has taken many of the same positions over the last eight years, but there have been no major federal gun control laws passed since the now-expired 1994 assault weapons ban. 

But supporters on both sides of the issue agree that fear of a firearms ban fuels sales.

“It's meant to push product," says pro-gun control advocate Geoff Berg. "That's what the NRA does. The  more fear and more paranoia it stokes, the more product it moves. This is about money.” 
           
Only time will tell if the fear is rational or unreasonable.

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