Talk of more gun laws empties stores
Posted: January 23, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Fearful about the possibility of new gun laws, buyers have been clearing out local stores while they can.
President Barack Obama confirmed gun enthusiasts’ fears when, about a month after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults, he announced plans to seek bans on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines.
Those proposed bans would have to make their way through a Congress deeply divided on the issue, but gun buyers aren’t taking any chances.
An employee who answered the phone at Stonewall Arms on Valley Avenue on Monday said supplies have gotten thin.
An employee at Valley Guns 2 in Inwood, W.Va., said the same day that the store is running low on everything.
Frederick County resident and gun enthusiast Chris Hill said it’s been slim pickings in recent weeks.
He has struggled just to find two 30-round magazines.
Virginia State Police data shows that guns have been selling at a rapid pace.
There were 27,811 background checks during the first 15 days of 2013 — a 118 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2012.
The number of guns sold could be much higher than the number of background checks since one customer can purchase multiple firearms and background checks are only required for licensed gun dealers and not private dealers, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller stated in an email.
Hill doesn’t think anything significant will come of current gun control efforts, but thinks it’s a result of people not trusting politicians and politicians not trusting citizens.
He doesn’t understand why people are critical of guns — such as assault weapons — that they say aren’t necessary to hunt.
“The Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about hunting,” he said. “It’s about self preservation. It’s about adequately protecting yourself from criminals and government.”
Winchester resident and gun owner Charles Nickles Jr. questions why anyone would need an AR-15, but he is opposed to the banning of anything.
“You let them take one thing away, they’ll start taking everything else,” he said.
For now, Nickles is standing pat.
“I got enough guns,” he said. “I got a couple shotguns, a couple rifles and a couple pistols.”
Hill said a ban on the sale of assault weapons would be meaningless, anyway.
“There’s already millions and millions out there,” he said.
Nickles isn’t sure what will happen with gun control legislation in the near future, but said he has been watching some episodes of “Doomsday Preppers,” which profiles people preparing for the end of civilization.
“Some of that stuff is starting to make a lot of sense,” he said.
— Contact Conor Gallagher at email@example.com