Gun prices soar as gun control debate rages

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by WENDY CORONA

WFAA

Posted on December 22, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 23 at 12:40 AM

FORT WORTH — Thousands of North Texans visited local gun shows and stores on Saturday, buying up firearms in case gun control measures make it harder for them to do so in the new year.

But many are finding that the most powerful weapons are costing more than ever.

“I'm looking at the AR-15 or an M-4; something I'm more familiar with,” said Ricardo Herrera, an Army veteran who was checking out the Lone Star Gun Show in Fort Worth on Saturday. But for Herrera, the price was not right.

“They're going anywhere from $500 to $1,000 more, so they kind of priced me out of the market there,” he said.

A gun dealer told News 8 that an assault-style weapon like an AR-15 a week ago ran around $900; this week, prices range from $1,500 to $2,500.

“There are still plenty of assault rifles, but they're taking advantage of the people right now," Herrera said. "They're getting pricey."

Gun stores also are seeing big crowds this weekend as Herrera found out when he visited one.

“When we got there, there were only two customers, but within 15 minutes that place got crowded,” he said.

The rush to arm disgusts former Navy military police officer Devonne Hart. “When I saw the pricing and an overwhelming inventory of assault rifles, I was like, 'OK — we're trying to cash in on the Connecticut thing over here. I'm saddened by it, and I couldn't even buy anything because I'm really turned off.”

Since the deadly assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the assault weapon debate is on.

“Leave the assault rifles to the military and law enforcement and let’s just stick to the basics — shotgun, rifles, 9mm handguns, because that's really all the stopping power you need,” Hart said.

Herrera decided that the prices were just too high for his wallet on this Saturday. “I think I'm going to take my chances and wait until they start debating on this,” he said. “It's a gamble.”

The Lone Star Gun show is open again Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth.

E-mail wcorona@wfaa.com

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