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9/09/2005

More on the increase in demand for guns after the hurricane

Gun dealers in Houston and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where thousands of evacuees were sent after Hurricane Katrina, say sales are rising amid concern about a spread of lawlessness from the storm-ravaged areas.

``People are concerned about not having much law and order in place, depending on where they are going,'' said Michael Clark, owner of Collectors Firearms in Houston.

Reports of looting, robberies, rapes and murders in New Orleans, where at least 200 police officers quit and two committed suicide since the Aug. 29 storm hit the Gulf Coast, have fed the demand. Thousands of evacuees were stranded in the flooded city for days after the storm. Others watched images of crime and desperation on television.

``You have a population who wants to go back to their houses -- you hear about looting -- and they want to get some sort of firearm to go back for their personal safety,'' said Jim McClain, president of Jim's Firearms Inc. in Baton Rouge.

New Orleans police are among the new customers at Jim's Firearms, where employees are working 16-hour days to keep up with demand, McClain said. Police have been authorized to use personal guns and ammunition and are buying whatever's available, he said. Mclain declined to give a specific increase in sales.

`Whatever He Needs'

``A New Orleans police officer came in, and he's looking for a shotgun to bring down there, and we're sold out of everything except the really expensive guns,'' McClain said. ``A lady looks at him and says `Whatever he needs, I'll take care of it,' They're wonderful people.'' . . .


Thanks to John WIlliamson and Jordan Bishop for alerting me to this piece.

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