BELLEVUE – Gun stores across the country report a spike in gun sales in the wake of the deadly Connecticut school shooting.
“(We’re up) four or five times our normal business same time as last year,” says Wade Gaughran, owner of Wade’s Eastside Guns in Bellevue.
He says his phone has been ringing off the hook, and it has been tough to keep certain guns on the shelf since Saturday.
“This is a rush or panic buying,” says Gaughran, who believes a “perfect storm” for gun control proponents is driving the blitz.
A spike in gun sales is common after a mass shooting, but the latest rampage has generated record sales in some states, particularly of rifles similar to the AR-15 the gunman used in an attack Friday on Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people, including 20 children.
Colorado set a single-day record for gun background check requests the day after the shootings, while Nevada saw more checks in the two days that followed than any other weekend this year. Records were also set in Tennessee, California and Virginia, among others.
Some gun shop owners stopped selling their remaining stock of military-style rifles, anticipating only more interest and value after President Barack Obama on Wednesday instructed his administration to create concrete proposals to reduce gun violence.
Robert Akers, a Rapid City, S.D., gun seller who specializes in such rifles, said the rush of customers had transformed his Rapid Fire Firearms store into a "madhouse" and that he's not actively selling the guns and has turned off his phone.
"The price is only going to go up higher," he said.
There was also an unusual increase in sales for armored backpacks designed to shield children caught in shootings, according to three companies that make them.
Dave Workman of the Second Amendment Foundation says he believes “it’s a little early and a little reckless about changing laws” and that lawmakers should also look at mental health issue, violent video games, and violent movies and television.
(The Associated Press Contributed to this story)