Uncertain climate on regulating firearms helps propel an upswing in weapons permits and gun purchases

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HANCOCK COUNTY — A significant chunk of the revenue at Highsmith Guns is, of course, from gun sales. And yet, the shelves seem sparsely stocked. There are a few .22 and muzzleloader rifles on one wall, along with a smattering of more high-powered pieces. In one case is a modest collection of handguns: Rugers, Glocks and Smith & Wessons.

That’s not to say the gun shop on North State Street in Greenfield has fallen on hard times. Indeed, there is a steady stream of interested customers. But it’s not inventory as usual, and it’s a scenario playing out across the nation.

Why? There’s a run on guns.

Gun enthusiasts are snapping up weapons faster than they can be replenished. And applications for gun permits spiked sharply toward the end of 2012.

Highsmith Guns owners Mark Highsmith and son Shane will tell you this gun purchasing frenzy is not exactly new, but it has most certainly taken a greater turn of late.

“Everything is sold out. Suppliers are sold out. We can’t get anything,” laments Mark.

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