Collectors of Russian-made firearms may be finding their favorite products harder to come by—not to mention more expensive—after the Obama administration introduced another round of sanctions against Russian companies last month that included Kalashnikov Concern.
The corporation owns the major Russian factories that manufacture the ever-popular Kalashnikov series of rifles, alongside Saiga shotguns and other firearms. July’s sanctions, which were part of the United States’ embargo against Russia over the latter’s support of anti-government separatists in Ukraine, have effectively banned the further import of any Kalashnikov Concern firearms. Retailers are now reporting a surge in demand for Russian-made guns, as well as a dwindling supply.
“If they don’t get it now, they’re not going to get it,” Jerry McCall, an owner of two gun shops in Texas, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“It’s called supply and demand,” McCall added. “When something like this happens, guns get bought up immediately.”
Fox News reported that distributors like K-Var and Atlantic Firearms are having trouble keeping certain firearms in stock, and many gun stores have already sold out of AK-type rifles and shotguns. The impact is being felt in Russia as well, and spokespeople with the Kalashnikov Concern have criticized the sanctions.
“For Kalashnikov, which is a subsidiary of the Rostecnologies state corporation, the US is an important market for selling arms,” a company spokesman told ITAR-TASS News Agency. “It should be noted that the Kalashnikov products are very popular in the US, and the amount of prepaid orders for arms there is three times as big as the annual supplies volume.”
According to Kalashnikov spokesperson Vasily Brovko, sales to US consumers make up 90 percent of the company’s civilian firearms sales.
Since the sanctions only affect new supply contracts, Kalashnikov firearms paid for in full can still be transferred to their new owners or distributors.
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) stated last month that the sanctions stand to benefit gun control groups and their efforts in the United States.
“While the United States government blames the Ukrainian conflict for this latest move, gun control advocates will no doubt applaud the ban on importation of some of the very types of firearms at the center of recent domestic attempts to ban so-called ‘assault weapons,'” the NRA-ILA stated on its website.
Seven other Russian manufacturers were also named in the sanctions last month, along with government officials and leaders of the separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine.