HOUSTON -- It’s one of the most sought after items right now, and it has nothing to do with electronics. An assault rifle has virtually vanished from stock, and the firearm is as powerful as it is controversial.
Unlike some of his customers, John Kleiber is trying not to panic, "You cannot take a multi-billion dollar industry and flip it off like a light switch. It just doesn't happen."
Looking at the shelves at Class 3 Weapons for the past several years, there have always been as many as 40 rifles on the wall -- all of them of the AR-15 variety. There haven't been any since Monday at noon.
There are not any guns in the back either, and there are normally a few hundred back there.
The few guns that are still in the store have already been sold and are waiting for their new owners to pick them up.
Jeff Kindschuh will take what he can get.
"Twenty percent deposit. Non-refundable. Indeterminate on the wait time," Kindschuh heard from the shop owner.
He is going to pay several hundred dollars with no guarantee of ever getting the gun because he found the one he wants.
"It is not a big gun it is a rapid firing gun," Kindschuh said of the AR-15. He wants it not just because there are wild hogs on the ranch.
"Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have in the back of our mind that one of these days the cartel is going to move right next to you,” said Kinschuh. “Or somebody is going to have a grow house right next to you."
"You are almost in a desperate situation where the customer has to weigh paying a skyrocketing price on auction services or taking a leap of faith," said Kleiber.
Odd, since it is a lack of faith in what may happen in Washington, D.C. that's fueling what is happening back in these gun stores.
"The way it is now they think the worst,” Kleiber said of some his customers. “Their minds wander and they wonder what is going to happen tomorrow."
Ken Sommer came in to Class 3 Weapons for one thing. "I came in looking for some clips,” said Sommer. When those were gone he got an Uzi instead.
“I was surprised to see everything gone when I walked in," Sommer said.
"I'm not just placing special orders for customers,” said Kleiber. “I am buying a tremendously large number of guns because if the door shuts I want to have thousands of guns on order.”