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Retailers saw record firearm sales last week in the wake of the Newtown tragedy
Guns are displayed at a store in San Francisco. Locally, gun-shop owners say their sales have gone through the roof since the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
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Carter said that sales were so strong partly because the rush to buy weapons happened in the midst of the hunting and holiday shopping seasons, plus it's human nature for people to want something when they're told they can't have it.
"The last time this happened, a huge number came back in the door after the fire went out of it," said Carter. "They'll have morning sickness over it or momma says, 'Get this out of the house.'"
A few firearms dealers, including Greentop in Ashland and Quantico Tactical in Quantico, refused to comment on their sales.
Dick's Sporting Goods, meanwhile, removed all guns from display in its store closest to Newtown, Conn., and has suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of its stores "out of respect for the victims and their families during this time of national mourning," according to a news release.
Dick's has two locations locally, one in Spotsylvania Towne Centre and the other in Cosner's Corner shopping center.
An increasing demand for guns is nothing new. Those firearms dealers who would talk said that gun sales have been on the rise for the past 12 to 18 months. And, just like after the Newtown tragedy, they soared in the wake of the shootings at that Aurora, Colo. movie theater in July and again after last month's presidential election.
SSG Tactical's and Clark's managers both said that the majority of their customers are buying weapons for self-defense. Others are recreational shooters or take part in shooting competitions.
"They realize that the police can't be everywhere at once," Carter said. "Some folks feel that they have to take some of the responsibility, and that's what they're doing.
"For a single mom, there's nothing worse than having someone break down the door and all you've got is a staple gun. That's probably an extreme case, but when it happens to you, it's real."
'people are scared'
These days, it's not just gun owners who are coming in to buy weapons, dealers said. Customers now include more soccer moms and grandmothers who've never purchased one before.
Justice Cucci, executive director of Cops-PI in Spotsylvania County, said that he started getting calls about a year ago from people who want to know if he teaches classes so they can learn to protect themselves.