MIDLOTHIAN, Va. - When 10-year-old Austin Smith heard Barack Obama had been elected president, he had one question: Does this mean I won't get a new gun for Christmas?
That brought his mother, the camouflage-clad Rachel Smith, to Bob Moates Sports Shop on Thursday, where she was picking out that special 20-gauge shotgun - one of at least five weapons she plans to buy before Obama takes office in January.
Like Smith, gun enthusiasts nationwide are stocking up on firearms out of fears that the combination of an Obama administration and a Democrat-dominated Congress will result in tough new gun laws.
"I think they're going to really try to crack down on guns and make it harder for people to try to purchase them," said Smith, 32, who taught all five of her children - ages 4 to 10 - to shoot because the family relies on game for food.
Last month, as an Obama win looked increasingly inevitable, there were more than 108,000 more background checks for gun purchases than in October 2007, a 15 percent increase. And they were up about 8 percent for the year as of Oct. 26, according to the FBI.
No data was available for gun purchases this week, but gun shops from suburban Virginia to the Rockies report record sales since Tuesday's election.
"They're scared to death of losing their rights," said David Hancock, manager of Bob Moates, where sales have nearly doubled in the past week and are up 15 percent for the year. On Election Day, salespeople were called in on their day off because of the crowd.
Obama has said he respects Americans' Second Amendment right to bear arms, but that he favors "common sense" gun laws. Gun rights advocates interpret that as meaning he'll at least enact curbs on ownership of assault and concealed weapons.
As a U.S. Senator, Obama voted to leave gun-makers and dealers open to lawsuits; and as an Illinois state legislator, he supported a ban on semiautomatic weapons.