Shootings increase business at gun shops

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

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Customers have many firearms to choose from at Ponderosa Trading Company in Waynesboro.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Customers have many firearms to choose from at Ponderosa Trading Company in Waynesboro.

This year is an exception.

William Debow said he has seen more traffic at his store, Ponderosa Trading Co. in Burke County, since a gunman opened fire on moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., on July 20. The most requested items are assault-type weapons and any firearm with high-capacity magazines.

“Aurora has pushed people in because there’s more talk about gun control,” DeBow said.

In the week after the shootings, Eddie Walden, the owner of Waldens on Bobby Jones Expressway, saw an increase in interest in AR-15s – “more than what we would normally see.”

With calls increasing for stricter gun controls and bans on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, people are stocking up on guns and ammunition, the gun store owners said.

“There’s a lot of buying based on fear that they’re not going to be able to get it in the future,” Walden said.

He said he has seen an increase in first-time buyers over the past four years, and the high-profile shootings in Aurora and at a Wisconsin Sikh temple are only causing those numbers to multiply.

DeBow said he’s had customers travel more than an hour to his store searching for a gun they’re confident can save the lives of their loved ones if need be. Since the Aurora shooting, he’s seen a 25 percent increase in sales of smaller, concealable weapons, most of them from first-time buyers.

Richmond County Probate Court records show increased interest in carry and concealed-weapons permits since last year.

In 2011, about 1,600 applications were filed for permits. From January to July of this year, 1,252 were filed, an increase of 300 over that period a year ago.

According to reports by The Associated Press, that same trend – more sales and permit applications – is happening in many states.

“People are cutting back on a lot of things, but not guns,” DeBow said.

Shop owners expect interest in guns to keep growing.

“Election years are always big,” Walden said. “There’s always a fear that certain parties will come out with more legislation and gun control.”

He’s already seeing numbers start to build toward what he was seeing in 2008, when a “ridiculous amount of guns” were coming off the shelves as the Democratic Party won control of Congress and the White House.

DeBow recalls it being difficult to keep ammunition on the shelves during election time in 2008. He’s expecting to see a similar pattern this year, with inventory dropping and prices increasing.

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Brad Owens
Brad Owens 08/13/12 - 08:42 am
Clinging to their guns...

Funny how folks know what is important and what is not huh? In the crudest sense, this is empowerment of the masses when they purchase guns and ammo.

LLArms 08/13/12 - 10:38 am
As a business own in the

As a business owner in the field of weapons R&D let me clarify a few things. Things that won't go away are just rooted in stigmas.

1. High Capacity Magazine; there is no such thing. The media often refers to "normal" capacity magazines as "high capacity". States like CA make residents use "neutered" magazines limited to 10 rounds. This requires a NORMAL magazine to be modified to only hold 10 or less rounds.

2. Assault Weapon; once again - no such thing exists. The media has continued to give the impression to the ignorant that somehow bullets from an AR-15 are more lethal than say, a bullet from a bolt action rifle. Thought more times than not its the same bullet, generally a .223 or .308 cartridge. This is just one example.

3. Concealed Carry Permit; yet a third time - does not exist. In the state of Georgia you are issued a Georgia Weapons License or commonly referred to as a GWL. This permit allows you to carry concealed or openly and also covers a variety of weapons including certain lengths of knives.

You do not need a permit to carry any sort of weapon in your car, on your own property, or at your place of business. The permit is for carrying outside of these specific areas.

augusta citizen
augusta citizen 08/13/12 - 05:28 pm

I totally agreed with you on No's 1 and 2, but was prompted to pull my license out of my purse to check on No. 3. It says, "State of Georgia Weapons Carry License". Dangit, I know it came with a letter detailing the laws, but I will probably not find it anytime soon. I believe we should have the right to open carry, but didn't know we could. I doubt it would fly locally even if we are permitted to.

Tullie 08/13/12 - 07:11 pm

I live in Richmond County and I was issued a Georgia Firearms License 05/12/2011.

That is what is says on my permit anyway and that is what I carry with me when I conceal carry.

LLArms 08/14/12 - 10:21 am
Yes you can open carry in

Yes you can open carry in Georgia. Have been able to for as far back as I can remember. I often carry open in the summer weather and no one has given me in trouble and little kids have not run away in terror.

Trullie - the GFL was the former name for the GWL which changed at some point in 2011.

It was changed from a Georgia Firearms License to a Georgia Weapons License to cover gray areas concerning non-firearm weapons on one's person. I believe you need a permit to carry a blade over 5" as one example.

You will find in 5 years when you go to renew that it is no longer called a GFL. The good news is your permit is still valid.

I also believe starting January 1st of this year all permits issued must be of the plastic variety (like DLs). No more flimsy laminated paper that gets worn out and bent up.

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