Data supplied by federal and state government show sales of firearms up 8 to 10 percent in 2008, continuing a trend that began in 2006, The Washington Post reported Monday.
The newspaper said interviews with dozens of gun dealers and buyers in Virginia and Maryland indicate the hike in sales appears to be driven predominantly by concerns about the election and the economy.
"Generally, we know that hard economic times always result in firearm sales," James Purtillo of Silver Spring, Md., publisher of Tripwire Newsletter, told the Post.
Gun shop owner Steve Clark of Warrenton, Va., says his customers have been buying weapons they fear will be restricted or heavily taxed.
"What I hear a lot is fear that Barack (Obama) will win the election and tax everything to the point that you can't afford anything," Eugene Proko, 51, a salesman at Clark's shop, told the Post.