Firearms enthusiasts say: “Annie, get your gun!” and quick.

As rapidly as local voters flocked to the polls on the first day of early voting, gun enthusiasts began flooding local firearm retailers. Even before the final votes had been counted, they were arming themselves for an uncertain future.

Weeks before Election Day, some shoppers said they were stocking up on guns and ammunition to prepare for a nation run by the Obama administration and a Democrat dominated Congress. Under the new political leadership, there are fears of tough new gun laws.

Roger George, who has owned and operated Pigeon Road Sporting Goods for almost 50 years, said there is no doubt the nation is facing strict restrictions on gun sales. George said he has researched the proposed bills, and also said the nation is facing “absolute restrictions,” thanks to President-elect Barack Obama. Furthermore, he said the proposed restrictions will be “far worse” than those enacted in 1994

Bryan Mathis, manager at Star Arms Gun Shop, located at 6688 Hwy 377 South, between Stephenville and Dublin, said business has been booming the past few weeks.

“We have seen quite a bit of business,” Mathis said. “There has been a definite increase.”

Mathis said many of the store’s repeat customers have been buying everything from semi-automatic rifles, or “Black Guns,” like AR-15s, to pistols. He said shoppers are also stocking up on ammo. He also said many new faces have entered the doors of Star Arms.

“About two-thirds of our shoppers have been repeat customers,” Mathis said. “The other third are coming in for the first time.”

In addition, Mathis and George both said many people have come to their shops from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“There have been lots coming from Dallas and Fort Worth,” George said. “We have what they want, and prices are a lot better here.”

George said they are coming to Erath County shopping for Mini 14s and AR-15s, and sales on pistols and automatic rifles have jumped tremendously. Shoppers, however, are not stopping at firearms.

“Ammunition sales are through the roof,” George said. “My customers who typically buy boxes are buying cases.”

George said his business has increased greatly and estimates the increase to be four times greater than the same time last year.

While Mathis admits an increase in business is typical this time of year, he believes the surge in firearm and ammunition sales cannot be attributed to hunting season alone.

“Business is up about 50-percent from last year,” Mathis said. “I think it has a lot to do with what occurred during election time and is due to things that happened in the past. They are trying to prevent, or be prepared for a repeat of history.”

The history, which Mathis alluded to, is likely the federal law banning the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons, which was signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton on Sept. 13, 1994. President George W. Bush and Congress allowed the ban to expire 10 years later.

According to www.bradycampaign.org, the ban, which was part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, required domestic gun manufacturers to halt production of semi-automatic assault weapons and ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds except production for military or police use.

In addition to many other restrictions, the bill banned the manufacture of 19 different weapons including the Beretta Ar70 (SC-70), Colt AR-15, INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9, and TEC-22, and also banned copies of the 19 named firearms.

Various semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns were classified as “assault weapons” due to those weapons having various combinations of features. Such weapons included shotguns with a protruding pistol grip and folding/telescoping stock or a similar shotgun with a fixed magazine capacity greater than 5 rounds and detachable magazine capacity.

As proof positive that gun sales are up across the nation, the online news source World Net Daily recently reported that between Nov. 3 - 9, the FBI reported there were 374,000 background checks on people purchasing guns. The staggering numbers are up 49-percent from last year.

George said the numbers will only increase in the next couple of months, as the new administration takes over the White House in late January.