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Tracy Earlenbaugh shows a Russian AK-47 at TW Firearms in Leesburg, Virginia on August 22. After the Obama administration added the machine gun to sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine, gun dealers reported a massive jump in sales of the weapon.Thirty-six hours after the Obama administration banned importation of the classic brand of AK-47 assault rifles as part of sanctions against Russia, a Maryland dealer specialising in the weapon took stock of its inventory.

There was nothing left.

Labouring almost nonstop, workers at Atlantic Firearms in Bishopville, a Worcester County community on the Eastern Shore, had shipped hundreds of Russian-made AK-47s — an assault rifle prized by both consumers and despots — as buyers wiped out gun dealers’ inventories around the country.

The frenzy was brought on, in part, by a suspicion among some gun owners that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was a backdoor excuse to ban guns many Democrats don’t like. Some customers bought eight to 10 rifles for nearly $US1000 ($1071) each or more, stockpiling them as investments.

Cindy Sparr boxes up an AK-47 style rifle after selling it at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store. (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)

“The gun community moved very, very quickly,” said Blaine Bunting, President of Atlantic Firearms. “I don’t see this ban going away.”


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