CHICAGO (CBS) ― Gun sellers say the election of Barack Obama is helping them avoid the recession. Sales of new guns are booming - up an estimated 50 percent in the suburbs.
In Wednesday's Truth in Politics, CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports the gun lobby spent big trying to defeat Obama this year, outraged by his promise to reinstate a ban on military-style assault weapons. On talk radio, he was denounced as a "gun grabber." Now, as Obama heads to the White House, millions are rushing to reload.
Business has rarely been better for certified arms instructor Jan Gofron.
He's teaching a flood of new students about semi-automatic handguns as well as tactical shot guns some call "street sweepers."
The most powerful weapons are disappearing fastest from local gun shops. At Elmwood Park's Illinois Gun Works, sales started soaring as it became apparent Barack Obama would win the White House.
"Once people started to realize that the Democrats had a better chance, or seemed to have a better chance, they started getting nervous about certain gun regulations," said Illinois Gun Works' Owner Dan Mastrianni.
Recent gun sales are up nationally 42 percent. In Illinois, they are up 38 percent; and in Chicago's suburbs 50 percent.
"It's simply paranoia," said Thomas Mannard of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. "And it's irresponsible, from my point of view, to be touting how wonderful this is. More guns definitely equal more death."
Mannard worked with then-state Sen. Barack Obama to pass Illinois' ban on assault weapons. Obama also helped close a loophole that allowed gun shows to sell weapons without doing background checks on buyers. Mannard now hopes for a national law.
Gun dealers say the threat of new rules will keep their sales booming.
"I don't expect this to slow down anytime soon," Mastrianni said. "What happened during Prohibition? Whatever people can't have, that's what they want. They can't get enough of it."
Like many, Mastrianni does not believe gun issues are anywhere near top of the president-elect's political agenda. Senior Advisor David Axelrod declined to discuss what, if any, gun-related legislation the administration might propose, nor when.
He noted they are busy picking people for top jobs.