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Surprise winner of Obama stimulus spending: gun industry

Police departments are using some of the stimulus money to arm up, helping to make Obama 'gun salesman of the century.'

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Many gun-loving Americans are convinved that President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are bent on ripping rifles from their "cold, dead hands," as actor Charlton Heston once declared at a National Rifle Association meeting.

But from the perspective of police departments – not to mention gunmakers – the Obama administration may go down as one of the most gun-friendly in history. Across America, police departments are using the taxpayer-funded stimulus bill to boost their arsenals with shotguns, handguns, and assault rifles.

Among the general public, a record 1 million guns were sold across the United States in August alone, rebuffing expectations that, after 10 months, the post-Obama election gun-buying spree would abate. US gunmaker Smith & Wesson on Wednesday reported a 30 percent rise in sales in the first quarter, leading to unexpected profits and a rising stock price.

But as police departments order new firearms using stimulus funds, there's more than a little irony in the fact that a president whom the gun industry looked upon with suspicion has put forward a federal program from which gunmakers are benefiting.

"Gun culture magazines in the '90s named [President] Clinton 'gun salesman of the year,' but I think Obama, without even trying, has become gun salesman of the century," says Brian Anse Patrick, a gun culture expert at the University of Toledo, and author of the forthcoming book "Rise of the Anti-Media."

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