by James Poulos | December 18, 2015 4:54 am
Californians have drawn national attention by buying more guns in the wake of the terror attacks in San Bernardino.
“Californians have already bought a record number of firearms in 2015, including major spikes in sales on Black Friday and the days after the San Bernardino attacks,” reported the San Jose Mercury News, citing new federal and state data on the sales. “Firearms purchases in California triggered 1.51 million federal background checks in the first 11 months of the year, breaking the previous annual record of 1.47 million set last year,” the paper added.
The reaction to the San Bernardino shootings was swift, with “as many as 6,000 guns being sold a day in the days after two jihadists massacred 14 people,” according to Fox News. “Figures provided by the California Department of Justice to FoxNews.com show that in the four days after the massacre, there were 20,664 sales, compared to only 12,649 from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2.”
Gun shows have also seen swelling crowds. Ten days after the attack, “Southern Californians flocked to a weekend gun show in Del Mar, many voicing concerns that another mass shooting could lead to tighter restrictions on gun sales,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “Organizers of the Crossroads of the West gun show said the weekend’s attendance could exceed 15,000 people — twice as large as usual.”
“Salesman James Wright, from a San Fernando-based ammunition factory, sold nearly 20,000 rounds of target-practice ammunition in an hour, leaving his black banquet table almost bare by 10:30 a.m. He had arrived with fewer supplies than usual, he said, because his other customers — gun stores and shooting ranges — had doubled their usual orders after the San Bernardino shooting.”
Anecdotal evidence has substantiated claims that more Californians are turning to guns for personal defense. In interviews with the San Bernardino Sun, locals expressed concerns that purchasing a gun had become essential to protecting themselves and their family. “This happened too close to home. I need to protect my family,” said one.
“I have two girls, 18 and 20, living at home. I realize that If someone breaks in with a gun, the police may not be able to arrive in time to help,” said another.
But buyers were driven by several factors since the attacks. In addition to personal safety and the holiday gift-giving season, some were motivated by a desire to get out ahead of possible regulations that would add additional strictures to California’s tough gun control rules. “Every single time the politicians start talking about firearms bans or increasing regulation, folks start to realize, ‘This is a right that if I don’t exercise it, I may lose it,'” Craig DeLuz, spokesman for the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, told the Eureka Times-Standard. “It’s not the sole motivator, but it’s a significant motivator.”
Reports from retailers have indicated that both guns and ammunition have done big business. “Though gun sales had already set records for seven consecutive months, several national retailers saw their sales triple in the two weeks since the attack in California,” the Washington Free Beacon observed. The California trend has mirrored a significant uptick nationwide. Rex McClanahan, president of Bud’s Gun Shop, a top online gun store, told the Free Beacon that “sales had actually increased substantially just before the attack out in San Bernardino. We actually expect to see a significant increase every year about that time due to the upcoming holidays, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.”
Recent history has suggested that gun purchases routinely rise in the wake of mass shootings, whether carried out by terrorists or not. “Numbers from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which can be used as an indicator of sales, show that there were significant spikes in background checks after the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, the July 2012 movie theatre shooting in Aurora Colorado, and the November 2009 Fort Hood massacre,” Fox News noted.
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