Gun dealers see buyer's market in Miss.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Panic buying, which followed President Obama’s election and the Democratic Party’s majority in both the House and Senate, created a seller’s market for gun dealers and sporting goods stores in 2009.

The lingering effects of that run, based on an unwarranted fear of losing the right to bear arms, has created a buyer’s market in 2010.

“Totally flip-flopped,” said Van Allen, of Van’s Deer Processing and Sporting Goods in Brandon. “Consumers are now in the best position. There are deals on firearms and hunting accessories the likes of which we’ve never seen or dreamed could happen.

“Manufacturers based their 2010 production on 2009 sales, but they learned that the demand — the buying that followed the 2008 election — didn’t materialize again.”

Excess product — except rifle and pistol cartridges, which remain in short supply nationally — means better deals, like rebates, lower prices and store specials.

“Shotgun shells are no problem, but the cartridges in all calibers are tough to find,” Allen said. “I’m ordering everything I can knowing that I’ll be lucky if I get half of what I order.”

Mississippi outdoorsmen are also bracing for more bad news when it comes to gasoline.

Fewer and fewer stations are able to offer 100 percent gas, and the problems caused for boat engines, ATVs and tools with small engines by the current 10 percent ethanol mix will only be exacerbated when E-15 begins entering the market. E-15 received limited approval this month from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Good for us, but not the consumer,” said Myron Watson of Performance Outboards in Flowood. “The 10 percent blend now is putting a lot of motors in repair shops and the E-15 will only increase that number. I’m betting 50 to 60 percent of our business this year was ethanol-related.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is lobbying for exemptions for boats and stronger labeling laws but has made little progress, leaving gas dealers who cater to boaters wondering what’s ahead.

“We are still able to get 100 percent fuel now, and our supplier said we should be good for at least six more months,” said Jay Herrington of Pelahatchie Bay Trading Post. “After that, however, there are no guarantees.”

Ethanol creates problems for boats and other small engines that cars don’t face.

“What you need to know about ethanol is that it never mixes with gas,” Watson said. “Their molecules never combine, but ethanol does mix with water. The longer it sits in a tank exposed to our humidity, the more water it absorbs. Since water is heavier than gas, that ethanol/water mix sinks to the bottom and is the first thing that goes to the carburetor.

“The best advice I can give anyone is when you are putting up a boat or any other engine for a long period, fill the tank so there is less room for absorption and treat the gas with an ethanol-rated fuel treatment.”

The Associated Press