Sales of guns and ammo have ramped up dramatically in California following last month's Connecticut school shooting and subsequent calls for tightened gun-control measures.
Manufacturers and retailers say they're scrambling to keep up with the demand.
"The supply chain is broken," said Jeff Foutz, a salesman with the Bain and Davis Gun Shop in San Gabriel. "First off, you had many of the manufacturers shutting down for a couple weeks at Christmas to do their maintenance. Then the Connecticut tragedy happened and right away you had 20 politicians in front the cameras trying to make their political bases happy."
The demand for guns and ammunition is sure to increase even more in the wake of gun-control legislation introduced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Feinstein wrote the original assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 when Congress refused to renew it under pressure from the National Rifle Association.
The recent "perfect storm" of events has spooked many gun owners into buying whatever they can get their hands on while it's still legal, Foutz said.
"It's been brisk," he said. "We are not a big firearms seller, but we pretty much sold all that we had and now we can't be re-supplied."
It's the same story at firearms and ammo manufacturer Ten-X Ammunition Inc. in Rancho Cucamonga, according to Richard Pumerantz, the company's president.
"We just got back from the Shot Show in Las Vegas, the largest gun industry trade show in the world, and of course all of the various rulings and positions of the government were announced while we were up there," he said. "After we returned it's been quite crazy with the number of calls. People are buying like it's going out of style."
Pumerantz said he's having trouble getting the components his company needs to make its firearms.
"That causes back orders," he said. "We're probably six months behind on many of our calibers, and others may be about four to six weeks behind. There's very little left on the shelf."
Pumerantz said sales of guns and ammunition first began to tick up following the re-election of President Obama, who last week outlined a gun-control plan that would include universal background checks for gun sales, reinstatement and strengthening of the assault weapons ban, capping ammunition magazines to a 10-round limit and improving mental health resources, among other features.
Pumerantz said many of those proposed measures are misguided.
"It's still an issue of mental health, not having weapons safely secured and having weapons stolen," he said.
Over the past year the nation has been rocked by a series of deadly shootings, including the school shooting in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead, and the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting that took the lives of 12 and injured 58 others.
Mark Stein, president of MSI Guns in Roseville, said semi-automatic guns are wrongly being lumped in with full-on assault weapons in the current gun debate.
"They started talking about banning assault weapons, but they didn't have a very clear definition of what an assault weapon is," he said.
MSI sells the AR-15, a civilian version of the military's M16 assault weapon. But unlike the M16, which allows the user to fire consecutive shots by squeezing the trigger just once, the AR-15 requires the trigger to be pulled for each shot, Stein said.
"You can't just hold the trigger," he said. "That's one of the biggest misleading things - these are not military rifles."
Stein said many guns are hard to come by these days because they've been bought up by gun owners who are worried about potential changes in the gun laws.
"There was so much demand in such a short amount of time that the pipeline got dry," he said. "The joke around here is that the president told us to get rid of the guns. Well, if you look at our display cases ... we got rid of the guns."
Meanwhile, Feinstein acknowledged at a Thursday news conference that getting the assault weapons ban through Congress isn't a sure thing.
"If anyone asks today `Can you win this?,' we don't know, it's so uphill," Feinstein said.
Feinstein authored the original assault-weapons ban in 1994. Her new version is more comprehensive in defining what kinds of weapons are banned.
The NRA responded that the new bill would infringe on the Constitutional right to bear arms and that instead the focus should be on prosecuting criminals and improving the country's mental health system.
Vice President Joe Biden is launching the White House's promotional tour on gun control Friday with a trip to Virginia, a state that has experienced its own school shooting tragedy yet maintains an avidly pro-gun tradition.
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