Banned by Russia Sanctions, AK-47s Flying Off Shelves

Gun buyers are clearing out dealers' inventory
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2014 9:39 AM CDT
Banned by Russia Sanctions, AK-47s Flying Off Shelves
In this Oct. 29, 1997, file photo, Mikhail Kalashnikov shows a model of his world-famous AK-47 assault rifle.   (AP Photo/Vladimir Vyatkin, File)

Gun control advocates may have been thrilled with US sanctions on Russia that banned imports of AK-47s, but they probably didn't count on the huge jump in US sales of the assault rifle that resulted. Gun dealers have run out of inventory after consumers rushed to stockpile Kalashnikov AK-47s when the Obama administration made its sanctions announcement in July, according to the Washington Post. As Fox Business noted in July, the ban doesn't prohibit people who already own a Kalashnikov gun from keeping it or reselling it, according to the Treasury's sanctions FAQ; rather, it's meant to "exacerbate Russia’s economic problems" after its actions in Ukraine. Kalashnikov Concern is banned from importing any of its guns, including the more advanced AK-74, CNN reported in July.

While the import stoppage may be hurting Moscow, it has only lit a fire under gun advocates—some have bought up to 10 rifles each as an "investment," notes the Post—who think the Ukraine crisis is just an excuse for increased gun control. While sales booms such as this are great for firearms dealers, one tells the Post that in the long run, similar bans "might put us out of business." Another concurs: "A two- or three-month jump in sales, only to have the rest of your lifetime to not have those sales, is kind of stupid," he says. "They're getting drunk at a three-month party, only to be hungover the rest of their lives." (Read about Mikhail Kalashnikov's guilt over inventing the AK-47.)

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