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Posted: July 28, 2012 5:42 p.m.

Local gun sales don't rise after shooting

Nationally, firearms sales are surging as a result of fears stirred by the Colorado movie massacre, but in Newton County, for the most part, gun sales are staying constant, according to local gun store owners.

An employee at Direct Gold Outlet, also known as Covington Guns, said he was surprised more people weren't purchasing guns after the shooting.

"You figured the assault weapons would fly off the shelves," he said.

Tim Keller, manager of Elite Pawn, found that his sales the Saturday after the Colorado shooting only went up slightly and said that customers appeared to be more worried about lawmakers who are using the shooting to seek new weapons restrictions.

"It seems like they were more worried about the legislation coming because of that (shooting)," he said. "Some of them (who came into the store) mentioned the shooting, but not very many."

Nationally, the shootings have triggered a fierce debate over gun control and whether government has a role in reining in the ownership of firearms.

Some Democratic lawmakers in Congress cited the shooting as evidence of the need for tougher gun control laws - particularly a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Congress, however, hasn't passed strict legislation in more than a decade.

When asked his opinion on whether stricter gun control laws that help prevent instances like the Colorado shooting Keller said, "The laws only govern the people who follow them."
Mike Martin, an employee at Piedmont Outdoors in Covington, said tougher gun laws wouldn't make much of a difference.

"There are too many people who are going to find a way to get a gun," Martin said. "You can have 10 guns and the NRA (National Rifle Association) watching to make sure nothing gets past, but nobody is watching the ammo."

In Colorado, the site of the July 20 shooting that killed 12 and injured dozens of others, gun sales jumped in the three days that followed.

The state approved background checks for 2,887 people who wanted to purchase a firearm - 25 percent more than the average Friday to Sunday period in 2012 and 43 percent more than the same interval the week prior.

Dick Rutan, owner of Gunners Den in suburban Arvada, Colo., said requests for concealed-weapon training certification "are off the hook." His four-hour course in gun safety, required for certification for a concealed-weapons permit in Colorado, has drawn double the interest since last Friday.

"What they're saying is: they want to have a chance. They want to have the ability to protect themselves and their families if they are in a situation like what happened in the movie theater," Rutan said.

Day-to-day gun sales frequently fluctuate, but the numbers also look strong outside of Colorado, too.

During the past decade, June and July have consistently been the slowest months for gun sales, according to FBI data.

Authorities have said that the suspected Colorado shooter James Holmes, methodically stockpiled weapons and explosives at work and home in recent months. He purchased thousands of rounds of ammunition and a shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle and two Glock pistols, authorities said.

On July 20, clad in head-to-toe combat gear, he burst into a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," tossed gas canisters into the crowd and opened fire.

Police in the Denver suburb of Aurora said Holmes also booby-trapped his apartment. Holmes is now in solitary confinement at a local jail.

The rise in gun sales reflects but one of the anxieties created by the shootings.
Since the massacre, there have been reports of chaos at movie theaters, apparently sparked
by misunderstandings or careless words.

A confrontation with an intoxicated man in an Arizona theater caused about 50 people to flee, authorities said. A southern California man was arrested after authorities said he made allusions to the Aurora massacre after the movie didn't start on time. In New Jersey, a showing of "Batman" was canceled after someone stood up during the movie, opened an emergency exit and then returned to his or her seat.

About 90 minutes into a Monday night showing of "Batman" in Santa Monica, Calif., a commotion caused some girls to shriek and two dozen people to sprint for the exit, jumping over seats and pushing each other out of the way. It turned out that a large man with a backpack was actually not a threat and was simply having a medical problem.

"This was nothing, and yet it startled us and rattled us so much," said moviegoer Paria Sadighi.

Gun sales often fluctuate based on news events, especially whenever people think the passage of more restrictive gun laws is imminent.

Sales spiked following the election of President Barack Obama, when weapons enthusiasts expressed fear that the Democrat might curtail gun rights. FBI figures also show background checks for handgun sales jumped in Arizona following the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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