New Orleans paper: magazine prices plummet!


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Remander
September 13, 2004, 11:47 AM
http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/metro/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1095055033265950.xml


Ammo dealers brace for blow
Assault weapons ban was boon for some
Monday, September 13, 2004
By Sarah Brown
Staff writer
Alex Osborne starts his seven-week vacation today.

Prompted by the expiration today of the 10-year-old federal ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, the Gulfport, Miss., gun-clip and magazine dealer is taking what could turn into a permanent hiatus from dealing in merchandise that has overnight lost up to 60 percent of its retail value.


"It's a nonprofit situation for me," said Osborne, who displayed his discounted wares at the Great Southern Gun & Knife Show at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner over the weekend.

"The public has been aware of the sunsetting of the crime bill for some months, and I've been feeling that already," said Osborne, who owns a company called A.M.O.

In addition to outlawing 19 types of military-style assault weapons, the ban, signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, extended to large-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

That was a boon for dealers such as Osborne, who for 10 years have done a brisk trade in the high-capacity magazines, which still could be sold under the ban although they no longer could be manufactured for the domestic market. Magazines for the popular Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic rifle, for example, which retailed for $9.95 before the law, shot up to $80 during the ban. And 15-round Glock magazines, previously retailed at $24, regularly went for upward of $100 after 1994.

"It was like Christmas," Osborne said.

But Sunday, Osborne was asking $14 for his Ruger magazines and $12.50 for the Glocks. A Beta C 100-round tactical M16 magazine that would have sold for $900 months ago, was on clearance for $500, $150 less than Osborne paid for it.

With the expiration of the ban depressing his magazine prices and the rising cost of gas, Osborne said he will take his merchandise to the Internet instead of to the gun shows that have been his bread and butter for more than a decade. That's if he continues to trade at all after his vacation.


Beating the ban

Osborne's situation highlights a little-known consequence of the legislation. High-capacity magazines didn't disappear under the ban. On the contrary, existing magazines remained in circulation -- at greatly inflated prices -- despite the ban. So did pre-ban assault weapons. And the ban had so many exceptions that new guns, essentially semiautomatic assault weapons with a few minor adaptations, were widely and legally available.

"The law was about something that frightened people, and that was the look of these things," said Morey Butler, sales manager at The Shooter's Club in Metairie. "The guns are already there, they've been there all along, just dressed differently. It's like painting a black car blue. It's the same car."

Under the rules, military-style features such as folding or telescoping stocks, protruding pistol grips, bayonet mounts, threaded muzzles or flash suppressers, barrel shrouds and grenade launchers were banned.

This reality has long prompted gun enthusiasts to view the ban as window dressing, basically posturing by lawmakers looking to score political points by appearing tough on crime. Led by the National Rifle Association, gun enthusiasts have given more than $17 million in individual, political action committee and soft money contributions to federal candidates and party committees since 1989, far outpacing contributions from gun control groups, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. And, according to the same group, the NRA spent nearly $11 million on lobbying from 1997 to 2003, and the Gun Owners of America spent more than $18 million on lobbying during the same period.

But many others disagree, saying the expired ban was a good idea. Law enforcement groups in particular have objected to President Bush's and Congress' failure to renew the ban, arguing that assault weapons are weapons of choice for drug traffickers, gangs, terrorists and paramilitary extremist groups.


Ban endorsed by police

Data from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence shows a 66 percent drop in crimes committed using assault weapons after the ban was enacted compared with the five years before it went into effect. The same study, released this year, also concluded that had the law not been passed, approximately 66,000 more assault weapons would have been traced to crimes since 1994.

Although no specific data is available, New Orleans Police Department Deputy Chief Marlon Defillo attributes the city's declining homicide rate, in part, to the ban.

"To have the ban expire without any intervention from Congress will impact police departments not just in New Orleans but across the country," Defillo said.

Defillo said the expiration of the ban makes his and his colleagues' jobs more dangerous.

"The bottom line is that law enforcement doesn't want these kind of weapons readily available to offenders," Defillo said. "We're not infringing on people's constitutional right to bear arms. I'm just saying, let's not make it easy for people to acquire these kind of weapons."

Butler of The Shooter's Club just doesn't see it that way. For him and other firearms dealers, the law was meaningless, and its expiration means only a temporary drop in their profits.

Some guns configured to comply with the ban will be hard to sell now, Butler said. "I'll either send them back to the manufacturer to have them altered at great expense to me, or I will have to discount deeply."

The new assault weapons and higher-capacity magazines will begin to be available in stores and at shows within a few weeks.

. . . . . . .


Sarah Brown can be reached at sbrown@timespicayune.com.

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armoredman
September 13, 2004, 11:56 AM
Discount them! My wife wants a WASR10! And she doesn't mind 10 rpund mags, so I hope to find one for under $100 soon, as everyone scrambles to trade in on real AKs....

Beren
September 13, 2004, 11:57 AM
Now all we need to do is open the NFA registry to new machineguns. That's when you'll /really/ hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth as $10,000 firearms drop to about $1,200...

45R
September 13, 2004, 12:12 PM
Sell the 10rd mags to the non-free states and discount the hicap mags :)

HankB
September 13, 2004, 02:23 PM
A Beta C 100-round tactical M16 magazine that would have sold for $900 months ago, was on clearance for $500, This was on Sunday?

The guy was trying to take advantage of folks who didn't know that in less than 24 hours, they'd be able to get brand new ones for less than half that price. In this day of poltically correct speech, I'd describe the guy as "ethically challenged."

I'm trying to muster some sympathy for poor Alex Osbourne, but it's . . . just . . . not . . . working. :barf:

wanderinwalker
September 13, 2004, 02:55 PM
Odd, I have a pair of Glock 17 magazines and a Walther P-99 magazine that are now worth ~1/3 of what I paid for them, yet it doesn't faze me in the least bit. Maybe Alex needs to rethink his business plan, no?

El Tejon
September 13, 2004, 05:21 PM
Use the old standard capacity mags as "loss leaders"!

Buy 2 ARs get 6 mags free!:)

Open Carry
September 13, 2004, 08:01 PM
Boo hoo. Alligator tears for the vampires who gladly bled us dry.

WalkerTexasRanger
September 13, 2004, 09:03 PM
"It was like Christmas," Osborne said.

Christmas is now over (for Osborne).

Now "It is like Christmas for the rest of us"

:D

Don Gwinn
September 13, 2004, 09:17 PM
You owe me a new keyboard. . . . my tears have ruined this one.

Awwwwww.......it's not Christmas anymore? So sorry we had to go and do something inconsiderate like force you to operate at MARKET prices like everybody else.
:rolleyes:

jsalcedo
September 13, 2004, 10:05 PM
He's lucky he got ten years of inflated profits.

Maybe he should have saved some of that money for a rainy day.

Booo friggin hooo.

Sounds like story about the lazy squirrel who played all summer instead of stocking up on nuts for the winter.

Looks like Osborne is going to have a cold, sad nutless Christmas.

4v50 Gary
September 13, 2004, 10:42 PM
Like WalkerTexasRanger says, "Now it's Christmas for the rest of us." :D But I'm stuck in California. :(

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