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12 23Thu04242014

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Back Local News The trigger point: Gun shops see spike in sales

The trigger point: Gun shops see spike in sales

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PRICES of firearms have shot up in the past couple of months – and so has the number of people wanting to buy more.

A rifle that used to sell for $700 apiece now costs about $1,500 in the mainland, and that means much higher prices for Guam buyers, according to James Parks, owner of Unified Fire Power.

But price hikes do not discourage purchase.

Unified Fire Power has been seeing more clients since late last year when President Barack Obama once again pulled the trigger on his efforts to keep gun ownership in check.

“I can’t say exactly the percentage of sales increase but we’ve had more than good sales since December,” Parks said, as he pulled out of his filing cabinet a folder containing sale transaction papers. “This folder is much thicker than the ones from previous months.”

Fears of gun restrictions have boosted such sales, Parks said.

Located in an obscure spot on the beachside in Anigua, United Fire Power caters to a wide range of customers including military personnel, hobbyists, collectors and law enforcers, Parks said.

Increase

According to the Guam Police Department, there are 18,000 registered gun owners on Guam, representing a 20 percent increase over the past five years.

“I am speculating that civilians purchase guns for either one of these reasons. Some are gun collectors as part of a hobby; some people believe that it could be used for self-defense and for security measures. Others purchase weapons for sport hunting,” GPD Chief Fred Bordallo said.

Bordallo said he wasn’t aware of any study or research on Guam which correlates the level of both property crimes and crimes against persons with the level of gun ownership. “Exploring the possibility of correlation or relationship between gun ownership and crime rates would be valuable should a study be conducted here on Guam,” he said.

“The platform upon which analysis may begin, according to my experience with these assumptions about the problem of crime and exploring ways to prevent or deter criminal activities, is with theories which offer the concept of deterrence,” Bordallo said.

The police chief cited a dissertation by Joseph H. Schuessler of University of Northern Texas, which “posits that individuals can be dissuaded from committing antisocial acts through the use of countermeasures, which include strong disincentives and sanctions relative to the act.”

GPD spokesperson Albert Balajadia said the majority of offenses dealing with firearms are those without valid firearms identification.

Gun control

On Wednesday, Obama ramped up his efforts to pressure Congress into passing gun control legislation. Speaking in Denver, the president reiterated his case for gun control measures, railing against critics’ suggestions that the government would confiscate peoples' guns.

On Guam, Bordallo said he would support any gun control legislation. “Guam can make its own local law relating to gun ownership but consistent with U.S. Constitution provisions relating to the Second Amendment,” Bordallo said.

Parks, however, said there is no need for any gun control measures, given that Guam has one of the toughest gun policies in the nation. “There is a form that you need to fill out and a lot of questions to answer before you can buy a gun here,” he said.

Guam law also requires that for a person to sell a firearm to another, “the buyer should show the seller an identification card evidencing the receiver’s right to own, possess, use and carry such firearm.”

Parks also noted there are restrictions on the types of weapons that arms dealers on Guam can sell.

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