The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. has sparked a surge in gun sales, according to independent arms dealers across the nation.
Robert Caselnova, who owns a Connecticut gun shop located less than 10 minutes from the school, said firearms flew off his shelves over the weekend, with multiple requests for AR-15 style rifles, a weapon Adam Lanza used in the Newtown massacre. Caselnova said he knew the Lanzas and that the mother and son had visited his store in the past, separately, but never made any purchases.
After high-profile shootings, debate over gun control can cause consumer demand for guns to rise, government records have shown. Industry experts say fears that stricter laws will follow such incidents push people to stock up on firearms before regulators can clamp down. But last weekend’s spike in business was unprecedented, gun shop owners in California, Connecticut and North Carolina told HuffPost.
Larry Hyatt, owner of North Carolina-based Hyatt Gun Shop, which claims to be America’s largest independently owned gun store, said he had a line out the door on Saturday, forcing him to call in extra salespeople.
“We already have tons of customers because of Christmas, hunting season is peaking right now, and not to mention, the election,” Hyatt said. “But this tragedy is pushing sales through the roof,” he added. “It’s like putting gasoline on a fire.”
Last weekend’s gun rush caused the federal system that processes background checks for firearm purchases, known as the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, to experience heavy delays. The FBI, which runs the NICS database, declined to comment on the number of background checks it has received since Friday. But Paul Marquardt, owner of ArmsX, a Connecticut-based gun store near Sandy Hook Elementary, said the wait-time on Saturday for a background check was nearly an hour — the longest wait-time he’s ever seen.
“The two busiest days I’ve witnessed during my four years in the business,” Marquardt said, “was the day after Obama was elected, and ahead of that, last Saturday.”
The Black Friday after the Nov. 6 election, gun sales across the country broke records, crashing the FBI’s background check system, according to The Denver Post.
At Ade’s Gun Shop in Orange, Calif., manager Lisa Atkinson said Saturday was the biggest day the shop has ever had, with some $13,000 in sales.
“It was the first time we had to call a nearby gun shop to see if they could sell us a gun because we had run out,” Atkinson told The Huffington Post. “It’s been crazy.” …