Mirroring a nationwide trend, retail sales of firearms in Illinois skyrocketed in the weeks since Election Day. Whereas many states saw gun sales increases in the neighborhood of 10-20%, Illinois gun owners outpaced their November 2007 gun purchases by a full 38%.

According to figures compiled by the Illinois State Police, 24,076 background checks were conducted in November 2008-a considerable plus-up from the 17,363 conducted in November 2007 and the 17,249 conducted in November 2006. Illinois gun dealers report that sales have remained brisk throughout Thanksgiving weekend with many customers acquiring several firearms at a time along with sizeable quantities of ammunition.

“Illinois gun owners aren't stupid-they see the handwriting on the wall,” commented ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. “They're acutely aware of just how treacherous the Daley/Blagojevich/Obama gun grabbing machine can be. Illinois gun owners have well-founded fears that, in November 2009, the number of background checks could very well tumble to zero.”

“In recent days, I've been in contact with gun dealers from across the state,” said Pearson. “Without exception, they are reporting significant increases in customer traffic since Election Day. As seen in other states, semiautomatic rifles and pistols sold out first. Likewise for popular ammunition calibers such as .223, .308, 7.62×39, and 9mm. Dealers report that, at this point in time, customers are scooping up whatever gun models haven't sold out. They'll take any gun left in stock.”

“The dealers report that they are seeing many first-time gun buyers as well,” continued Pearson. “Many of these folks have wanted to own firearms for a long time, but just never got around to buying their first gun-until now. According to many dealers with whom I have spoken, most of their customers fear that this may be the last chance they get to purchase a firearm legally.”

“Since the election, a lot of calls have been coming into ISRA headquarters from gun owners fearing that their rights are about to get trampled,” reported Pearson. “It's encouraging to hear that these folks are not going to go down without a fight. They're looking for ways to protect their rights. I remind them that political action is the key to success. I encourage all callers to contact their representatives in congress and the statehouse and remind their elected officials that having so-called 'respect' for the 2nd Amendment isn't enough. That respect must translate into that casting of votes that preserve and protect our nation's heritage of safe and lawful firearm ownership.”

The ISRA is the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. Founded in 1903, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.