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Local gun sales surging in wake of CT shooting

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 2:36 PM
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 2:36 PM

Concerns about possible changes to gun laws have drawn local buyers in big numbers this week following Friday’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., which matches a national trend.

Gun shop owners and observers say comments from politicians over the weekend that they will look to increase restrictions on buying some guns and accessories have worried buyers. Added to the usual holiday time sales increases and the post-election surge caused by owners’ worries about President Obama’s intentions on gun laws, this week’s boom is expected to add to an already strong sales finish for 2012.

“The honest people out there are seeing that their rights to own firearms and accessories might be restricted, so they’re looking to purchase what they can,” said Joe Eaton, southwest Ohio chair for the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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That included, Eaton said, some retailers sold out of their available stock at last weekend’s Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Show event in Sharonville.

“(One retailer) told me the attitude was anything they could purchase, they would purchase,” Eaton said. “He had several hundred (weapons), and every one of them sold by the end of the weekend.

“One shop said they sold out of rifles they had in stock and were looking to get more, but the distributors said anything they had in the warehouse had already been sold.”

FBI statistics underline the trend. Last month, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System performed 74,534 checks on potential gun buyers in Ohio, a 103 percent increase from May. Shop owners said November is usually a busier month because of Black Friday and holiday gift sales, and this year saw an even bigger increase because of owners’ worries about Obama’s possible moves on guns.

GRAPHIC: Background checks to purchase guns in Ohio, compared to other states>>

Then, when some politicians reacted to Friday’s shootings with statements that they may support stricter gun laws, sales received another boost this week. Gun rights supporters argue that changing gun laws will not curtail such incidents.

“I think while it’s easy to see why folks would want those kinds of changes, simple change won’t affect complex problems,” said Jeff Monroe, owner of 22three Firearm Outfitter in Lebanon. “We have complex problems with violence in America, but simple change won’t have the affect we would want.”