As Washington calls for gun control, many see a rise in sales

By Hannah Bleau |

As the American gun debate soars, many Americans are taking their fate into their own hands: Buying firearms fast.

The shockwave of the Aurora movie theater massacre and Sandy Hook school shooting has reached all the way to the White House, and the new debate about gun control is concerning many Americans.

Bob Perry, owner of St. Augustine’s Shooting Sports Pro Shop, didn’t seem surprised. He said people purchasing firearms aren’t just gun enthusiasts. They’re regular people, many 60 years old and above.

Many first time gun buyers are genuinely concerned about having the ability to protect themselves. “We see a lot of people who are concerned about their personal security and are attempting to protect themselves with the purchase of a firearm and training in advance of the laws changing as well,” Perry said.

Perry isn’t sure how any new legislation will affect his business yet, but he has an idea. “We have seen assault rifle bans once before. There was a precedent for that between 1994 and 2004, so a ban similar to what’s being proposed. What we saw was that the price of guns more than doubled. The price of high capacity magazines more than tripled, and there was no decrease in demand whatsoever,” he said.

But he and many other pro-gun advocates say they are convinced gun bans won’t work.

“The passage of that law didn’t affect the crime rate whatsoever, and that’s why the law sun-setted after 10 years, automatically,” Perry said. “It’s important to note when we talk about instilling a new assault rifle ban that the last one automatically went into a sunset provision because it statistically didn’t have an impact. So there’s good documentation that the government and Republicans and the Democrats both agreed on that and said this law doesn’t do anything. Therefore we shouldn’t have it and that was ended in 2004. We’re back here for no good reason.”

Business owners aren’t the only ones concerned. Thousands of people gathered at the Jacksonville gun show Jan. 19 in reaction to the new, possibly restrictive gun legislation.

Private citizens were selling firearms, and children were loading bullets into boxes.

Jeremy Elliot attended the gun show and thought it was a revealing snapshot of the American mindset.

“I think they know about all of the stuff that’s getting ready to be outlawed,” he said about customers at the show. “Basically, they’re sticking up for their rights by being there and trying to get what they can when they can.”

There were also many first time gun show attendees who said they felt urgency to secure personal protection before that liberty is possibly limited.

“This is my first one, but it won’t be my last,” said first time gun show attendee Sherri Wallace.

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