Firearm sales booming following school shooting

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Shooters World owner Ken Banks holds an 1873 Winchester rifle, known as the rifle that won the West, at his store on Wednesday morning. Banks said firearms sales have been booming since the Connecticut school shootings. Enlargephoto

Michael Maresh/Cortez Journal

Shooters World owner Ken Banks holds an 1873 Winchester rifle, known as the rifle that won the West, at his store on Wednesday morning. Banks said firearms sales have been booming since the Connecticut school shootings.

Firearms are being sold at a high rate following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last Friday, local gun dealers are reporting.

Following a trend nationwide, gun owners appear to fear the possiblity that future legislation could lead to a ban or stricter gun laws.

Shooters World owner Ken Banks said there is no question the recent increase in the sale of firearms at his business is the result of the tragic school shooting in Connecticut, with numerous legislators promising to look into creating stricter gun laws and possibly banning certain firearms.

"People are concerned about the (future) availability of firearms," he said.

Banks also said his business picked up following the November election, with some believing that it was only a matter of time before new regulations and laws were put in place after the re-election of Barack Obama.

According to a Denver Post report, Colorado had 4,200 requests to buy guns on Saturday (See related news brief on Page 2A).

Banks believes any legislation will only affect law abiding citizens, and not the "nut cases" who are the ones creating mayhem.

Banks said holiday shopping is not the reason for the increase in gun sales.

He said the criminals and the mentally ill will still find a way to get weapons even if they could never pass a background check that would allow them the opportunity to purchase firearms legally.

In the Connecticut school shooting, the shooter was not of legal age to purchase a handgun in the state and was mentally unstable, which Banks said would have prevented him from purchasing the guns he used.

Banks pointed out that the killer did in fact steal the guns from his mother and used them in the massacre.

"There will be proposed regulation. That is already in the works," he said

He said those who purchase a gun for someone else and lies about the person's past or mental stability would be taking part in a felony that could result in time in jail.

There are 13 "yes and no" questions on the over-the-counter firearms transaction record, and the only "yes" allowed is whether the purchaser is the buyer or person who will transfer the gun to another.

Any other yes answer would preclude that person from purchasing a firearm, Banks said.

Some of the questions include whether there has been a conviction of a misdemeanor crime or domestic violence, usage of controlled substances and whether the applicant has ever been declared "mentally defective" or been committed to a mental institution.

"How much more can we do to make sure they are a qualified buyer?" Banks asked in discussing the stringent background checks required of gun dealers.

"You can only go so far," he added, and reiterated any new legislation will only affect the lawful buyer who never would use it for anything illegal.

"It's meaningless legislation. It's a waste of damn time," Banks said in describing the promise Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) made about creating legislation in an effort to ban certain firearms.

Bruce Dominey, owner of Rocky Mountain Pawn and Gun in Durango, on Tuesday morning said there were more than 100 people in the store, the busiest time he has ever seen.

Dominey thinks the reason for the increase in business is twofold with residents being concerned about any legislation President Barack Obama may try to impose against certain guns and the fear legislation could be coming soon because of the recent school shooting.

"They are lining up in the parking lot, right now," he said.

The National Rifle Association on Tuesday issued a statement on the Newtown, Conn. shootings saying they "were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown." The NRA also said that it would hold a major news conference in Washington D.C. on Friday.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com