Gun stores nationwide and in Houston are reporting a high demand for guns and ammunition amid rising fears of restrictive gun controls and crime related to the economic downturn, the Houston Chronicle reports. In Texas, the number of applications for concealed handguns swelled to 12,587 in February, up from 7,626 in the same month last year. Nationally, FBI background checks–required for gun purchases from a federally licensed dealer, jumped 29.2 percent last month compared to the same month last year.
Demand is so high at one Houston-area gun store that the owners have hired more staff since November and have asked customers looking for pistols to call ahead to make sure they're in stock. The 9mm Glock, which retails for more than $500, is the most popular at this store. Mike Clark, president of the store Collectors Firearms, says the latest craze is driving a current run-up in prices of about 10 percent to 25 percent on handguns. Some of it may be an overreaction, but Clark says he isn't convinced that the fear is irrational. “All it takes is someone to say something – the president or someone – and all of a sudden everyone has a knee-jerk reaction,” he said. “But it's not all knee-jerk. The future may hold a whole different story because this kind of thing is going to pop up over time.”