Sales of camping supplies such as propane tanks, water canisters and air mattresses were also up at one store.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
Mahoning Valley residents are arming themselves, or reinforcing their armaments, in the wake of the terrorist attacks that took thousands of American lives Tuesday.
Sales of guns and ammunition have nearly doubled since Tuesday at one local gun store, and some other merchants surveyed also reported marked increases in gun and ammunition sales.
Marlene Miller of Miller Rod and Gun in Boardman said customers have been stocking up on all sizes of ammunition, from bullets for small revolvers to rifle and shotgun cartridges, since the attacks on major landmarks in New York and Washington.
"Yes, our sales of both guns and ammunition have just about doubled," Miller said.
"They're not saying much. We've always got the TV news on in the store, and several have said something about it. They say that's one more reason they want to have a firearm."
Records check: She said gun buyers are required to undergo a records check by the FBI, a process which generally takes only a few minutes and can be completed by telephone. No records check is required to buy ammunition.
Ammunition sales have been unusually brisk over the past two days at Wal-Mart in Austintown, said Sam Krentz, assistant manager. "We've been refilling the ammunition all day," he said.
A Wal-Mart employee working in the store's sporting goods department said she has noticed customers buying large quantities of ammunition, especially for handguns, and several have mentioned the terrorism.
"I wouldn't even want to repeat what they've said, but they're preparing themselves," she said. "Them doing that is what's scaring me."
Camping supplies: Shoppers at the Wal-Mart store are also stocking up on camping supplies, such as propane tanks, water canisters and air mattresses.
Gander Mountain, an outdoor specialty store in Howland, has seen a slight increase in gun sales and a more noticeable climb in ammunition sales, especially for pistols, said manager Travis Craig. He was reluctant to tie the gun sales increase to Tuesday's attack.
"I even asked some people why they were buying guns Tuesday," he said. "Most said it was just because they were sent home from work early and finally had a chance to stop."
He said other Gander Mountain stores in Toledo and Canton have reported larger increases than the Howland store has seen in both ammunition and gun sales.
Two smaller area gun dealers said they haven't noticed an increase in firearm or ammunition sales.
Deno Frazzini, who owns the Shooting Gallery in Boardman, said sales have been normal.
Average sales: Bob Mokri, owner of Sporty's Guns & amp; Bluing in Kinsman, said his customers are mostly hunters and his volume has been average. He had heard about increased sales in other areas, however, from a wholesaler who reported "massive increases" in other parts of Ohio.
One discount store, Kmart, has temporarily discontinued sales of firearms and ammunition and firearms from its 2,100 stores nationwide in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
An employee at the chain's Boardman store said Kmart stopped selling handguns altogether several months ago and removed even hunting guns and ammunition from its shelves Tuesday.