Robert Lucroy was “much more relaxed” Friday at the Eau Claire Gun Show, saying there was “no longer the frenzy for guns” after President Donald Trump took office.
“Last year, it was tough getting ammunition, and everyone was trying to get guns in case something came down about possession,” said Lucroy, of Neillsville. “The change in Washington certainly has made a difference.”
Ron Martin, show director about the past five years, agreed, saying: “We don’t have the sense of urgency we had before; people aren’t scrambling to buy up whatever they can find.”
Martin said, “Things are back to normal, and people aren't buying ammunition in ridiculous amounts and hoarding it, or semi-automatic guns, anything they thought might be banned.”
Martin, who deals largely with older used firearms, said his sales have been good this year.
Martin and Joe Eisen, owner of Eisen Arms of West Bend and Kewauskum, said conceal carry weapons have increased handgun sales.
“I’m not sure if it was the administration or just that there was a scarcity of different types of ammo,” Eisen said, referring to last year. “People struggled to find what they were after. Maybe the manufacturers have caught up or maybe some of the gun concerns have simmered down.”
Gun sales have been “very brisk” in a variety of gun types, Eisen said.
“There are a number of variables; concerns of personal security; maybe just the news day in and day out,” he said. “People just want to make sure they can provide for their own security.”
Eisen said the conceal carry gun and sporting guns are currently popular.
“There are a lot of newcomers to sporting clay, trapshooting and pistol leagues,” he said. "The interest in conceal carry has sparked an interest in shooting altogether, where they are getting enjoyment out of it.
“A lot of people would have positive thoughts if they actually experienced it,” he said. “Half of them would probably become avid shooters.”
Ashley Spangberg of Strum, owner of Patriot Beads and Brass, was nestled in with the scores dealers for guns, knives and corresponding equipment.
Spangberg, deployed in 2014 to Afghanistan as a member of the Wisconsin National Guard, has created jewelry and other items from used bullets.
“The girls need something too,” she said when asked about her display. “All of it uses recycled bullet casings that have been shot at least once.”
Spangberg got the creative idea near the end of her deployment, wondering what was being done with the casings.
“Somehow, out of that came the idea of making jewelry,” she said, adding that many of the casings have been donated to her. “I got back, and a few months later, I started making the jewelry, and people thought it was cool.”
Spangberg, who works as a mail carrier in Mondovi, also has etched designs on some casings that she developed into key rings.
“I think anyone who is a gun enthusiast would be interested in these,” she said about her products. “It’s certainly something different.”
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