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7 States Where Gun Sales Are Surging Since the Sandy Hook School Shootings

Across the nation, the rush is on to grab assault rifles and large-capacity magazines -- even in Connecticut.

Photo Credit: © Lori Martin/Shutterstock.com


When word came of the dreadful school massacre in Sandy Hook, Conn., on December 15, many people stopped to pray and mourn. Others ran to the gun shop, and more are still coming, according to news reports from across the nation.

Apparently fearful from the moment the story broke that serious gun control -- particularly a ban on sales of the sort of assault rifle used by killer Adam Lanza, and the large-capacity magazines that allowed him to kill so many so quickly -- was in the offing, paranoids and gun enthusiasts rushed sporting goods shops in order to score those very items.

The right has long sold the line that President Barack Obama is coming for the guns of people who fancy themselves to be the "real" Americans, and it now appears that he might at least, after four years of inaction, seek to enact meaningful gun safety laws. 

One major gun seller, the Dick's Sporting Goods chain, has suspended sales of types of several rifles, including the model used by Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The National Rifle Association, after days of silence during which it even disabled its Facebook page, emerged again from the shadows yesterday, promising a press conference to take place on Friday, December 21. 

The list below in no way comprises a complete accounting for all the states in which gun sales have surged; indeed purchases of firearms and applications for background checks are said to be at record highs across the nation since the tragedy in New England. Here we compile news reports from a few of those states.

1. Connecticut. The Nutmeg State's new designation as the home of one of the worst school massacres of its kind in U.S. history did little to deter gun enthusiasts from streaming into the state's gun-sellers on Friday.

From Brian Dowling of the Hartford Courant:

Doug Odishoo, owner of Delta Arsenal in  Meriden, said he noticed an increased interest soon after the shootings. "As soon as this shooting happened on Friday, I almost sold out of everything. Saturday I couldn't keep up with it."

He said people walked into his shop, looking at the AR-style guns and saying, "I better get one before I can't."

The gun used by Adam Lanza was a Bushmaster AR-15. Dowling also reports:

At Hoffman's Gun Center in  Newington on Tuesday, the parking lot was full and overflow vehicles were parked on the grass. It had been that way for two days.


At Connecticut Sporting Arms in  North Branford, owner Arnie Willhite said Tuesday that the stream of people buying guns and ammunition have left little stock for him to work with.

"We had a little left going into today, and most of that is gone," he said, attributing the spike in demand to the perceived possibility of new gun regulations.

2. Viriginia. The site of a college massacre at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 2007, where gunman Seung Hui-Cho shot and killed 32 people, the commonwealth is also known as a haven for gun enthusiasts, with one of the most lax requirements for concealed-carry license among the states that issue such permits. After the Sandy Hook shootings, Virginia registered a record high in background checks requests for gun purchases. From a report by Chelyen Davis in the Fredricksburg Freelance Star:

The day after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, Virginia State Police saw their highest-ever number of gun-purchase background checks.

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