MEDFORD, Ore. — Local residents crowded the Medford Armory this weekend for the Medford Gun Show. Triple the normal amount of people showed up for the event. Vendors attribute the turnout to current events and politics.
1,500 people filed into the show in just the first three hours of opening. “We’re seeing more ammunition and more guns sold for personal protection than ever before,” Medford Gun Show’s Wes Knodel said.
Local people are turning out, despite price hikes. The average price of an AR-15 is around $700, according to vendors. Saturday, people were paying $2,500 for the firearm.
“I believe that first of all current events are drawing people to want to protect themselves and we all know what the current events are. Politics drives the fear that they might now be able to get some of what they already have and what they want, so they are in here buying it and paying high prices because they are afraid they are not going to be able to get it in a year or so,” Knodel said.
Officials say Oregon law requires background checks at gun shows. Today, the average wait for a check was about an hour. The normal wait time prior to the Clackamas Town Center shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was ten minutes.
The spike in sales at the Medford Gun Show specifically targeted assault weapons. “Those are being gobbled up. Prices are skyrocketing … because of the panic,” Knodel said.
Vendors say they are falling victim to the increase in demand. “In the long run, consumers have actually hurt me and my business and hurt themselves by buying in the volumes that they’re buying,” TNT Weaponry Salesman Brian Schilt said.