Cleveland-Area Gun Shops See No RNC Sales Surge

'Business as usual'

Stonewall Range / Stephen Gutowski
Stonewall Range / Stephen Gutowski
July 19, 2016

CLEVELAND, Ohio—Cleveland gun shops have seen no noticeable increase in gun sales in the lead up to the Republican National Convention.

Gun dealers in and around the city have not noticed much RNC-inspired buying despite the media’s focus on potentially violent RNC protests and the open carry of firearms. At Sherwin Shooting Sports it's "business as usual," according to staff.

"Nothing out of the ordinary because of the convention," Jim Chladek, a Sherwin employee, said. "It hasn't caused a big stir."

Neither the Cleveland Armory nor Atlantic Gun & Tackle has seen a spike in sales surrounding the RNC either.

At Stonewall Range they've seen a higher level of sales in recent weeks but they believe terror attacks and new gun control efforts are driving sales more than the RNC, a pattern consistent with what many other gun and ammo dealers across the country are seeing. Stonewall owner Diane Donnett said her store has seen as much as a three-fold increase in sales of certain guns since the terrorist attack in Orlando.

"We did see an upswing in AR-15s after what happened in Florida," she said. "This has been going on for months. This whole year has been a lot. We're up about 50 percent. In six month’s time where we normally sell 1,000 guns we're at 1,500 guns now.

"I won't say that it's because of the convention being here," Donnet said.

Instead, she pointed to uncertainty about the upcoming election among customers for a large part of the uptick in sales.

"We're hearing concern about this election. People are just very confused about who to vote for. I mean, we look at Hillary Clinton is going to take away our rights. Versus Donald Trump who I feel is a little volatile and could possibly get us into world war III," she said with a chuckle.

Donnett said that while people are concerned about the convention, she thinks the relationship between local protesters and Cleveland Police is much better than in other major metropolitan areas. She said most of her customers are more concerned about protesters from outside of the community stirring up trouble.

"Everyone has the right to protest. For me, the Second Amendment protects the First Amendment," Donnett said. "I'm a firm believer in that. What I don't believe in is that people should get their point across with violence. Violence only begets violence. It won't get better."

"For people to come into my town and think that they're going to generate violence, they've got another thing coming because people in Cleveland won't put up with it," she said.

Bill Montville, a local instructor who teaches classes for the National Rifle Association and United States Concealed Carry Association, was born and raised in Cleveland. He thinks the RNC hasn't driven gun sales in the area because of the mindset of most Clevelanders.

"I think, basically, Clevelanders are basically pretty down-to-earth and cool-headed," he said, noting that he hasn't noticed any RNC-related training requests from locals. "We don't anticipate anything going wrong with this RNC convention, unless it's brought in by outsiders. And we're leaving that in the hands of the authorities to sort out."

"There is a concern about terrorism and the bad guys, obviously," he continued. "For people wanting to carry concealed handguns, personal protection is first and foremost in their mind not anything major going on in Cleveland. We had over a million people for the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrating their championship and not one incident.

"Clevelanders are very well behaved," he said.

Published under: 2016 Election , Guns