Want to triple your money? Buy an assault rifle

Worried that Congress will reimpose a federal ban on the sale of assault weapons, gun enthusiasts across the country are buying them quickly, and some expect their value could triple, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

"A guy could easily make a lot of money," said Jay Chambers, 47, while at a gun store near Atlanta.

Chambers believes that President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress will again ban assault weapons by re-enacting a law that expired in 2004. Chambers has enough guns, ammo magazines and weapons parts to assemble about 30 AK-47s and other semiautomatic rifles that he says could triple in value if outlawed.

"60 Minutes" had a story April 12 about the increase in assault weapon purchases, although it didn't get into the issue of investing in them.

More people are buying guns, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Background checks that are required when buying a gun from a federally licensed seller have increased 27% in the first three months of 2009 when compared to the same time in 2008.

The buying sprees are increasing prices. Many popular models of guns are back-ordered for a year or more and some manufacturers are operating plants 24 hours a day, the Journal reported. The average price of European-made AK-47s doubled from $350 in September to more than $700 by the end of 2008, according to the 2009 edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values.

During the federal ban between 1994 and 2004, it was illegal to manufacture weapons in the banned categories, but those already in circulation could be resold. That caused sales of popular firearms such as the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to soar.

The previous law also prohibited stores from selling ammunition magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds. The good times, at least for gun and even ammo owners, could happen again if another ban is enacted

Bubba Sanders, owner of Bullseye Supply LLC, in Brandon, Miss., told the Journal he has "a number of doctor clients whose financial advisers have told them to invest in ammunition. Beats the hell out of money markets and CDs. You can double your investment in ammunition in a year."

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net
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