It's no secret that gun sales have surged during the first part of 2009: The FBI reports that 4 million people have applied for background checks since the beginning of the year, representing a 27 percent increase since 2008. Fears that the Obama administration and congress will ban certain weapons, such as the AK-47 and other assault rifles, combined with fears that the weak economy will produce a lawless atmosphere, have driven the sales. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports, investors are adding to the demand for assault weapons and ammo, anticipating high returns if Congress renews the Assault Weapons Ban and drives up their prices. Already the speculation is sending prices shooting up: according to the Blue Book of Gun Values, the average price of the AK-47 rose from $350 last September to $700 by the end of $2008. Said one man who recently bought two AK-15s, "It's certainly a better investment than my 401(k)."