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After Obama SOTU address, gun dealer struggles to keep up with demand

President Barack Obama made gun control one of the biggest priorities in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. CNBC's Hampton Pearson reports that the political debate is driving sales at a shop in Chantilly, Va.

CHANTILLLY, Va. -- The day after President Barack Obama's emotional plea in his State of the Union message for a "vote" on new gun control measures, it is business as usual at the Blue Ridge Arsenal. The post-Sandy Hook boom in gun sales and even ammunition continues.

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Earl Curtis, Blue Ridge's president and owner, said law abiding gun owners are buying weapons that they fear might be banned; at the top of the list the AR-15 rifle and the Glock 22 handgun.

However, he's having trouble getting guns to sell.


"Usually we would get anywhere from 10 to 20 guns a week as far as ARs," he said. "Now we get about one or probably one a week if we're lucky."

The phenomenon of busy gun shops is born out by record FBI data on background checks required for gun purchases, the best barometer of gun sales which increased to record levels over the last two months.

Leading up to and after the Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., checks were hitting all-time highs. Background checks inDecember topped 2.78 million, an all-time record, and January came in at just under 2.5 million—-the second highest month ever and a million more than any previous January.

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Last fall, before the Newtown tragedy, Smith & Wesson reported a record $136 million in sales, a 48 percent increase from a year ago. Sturm Ruger's sales topped $118 million, a 50 percent increase.

"I see a win-win for the stocks, even if they did come up with more restrictive legislation … I don't see them completely banning weapons or completely banning the ability to buy them and again lighting that much of a fire for people who already own guns to buy more of them," said Randy Cloud, president of Cloud Capital LLC, which holds shares in gun makers. "An unsettled political turmoil may ultimately be better for SWHC and RGR than if there were no political threats."
However, manufactures will have to find the balance between figuring out how long the current increased demand will last and the political headwinds, Cloud said. No one wants to get stuck with excess inventory of potentially banned weapons or accessories.
CNBC's Stephanie Dhue contributed to this report