Californians React to Mass Murder and Tough Gun Laws with Record Weapons Shopping Spree

Friday, July 27, 2012

Even before the theater shooting in Colorado set off a national frenzy of gun buying, California—home to some of the toughest gun laws in the nation—was headed toward a state record in weapons sales.

Gun sales are expected to top 700,000 this year, double the total in 2005. That would top the previous record high of 642,197 in 1993, two years after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Gun sales have been up every year since 2003.

California is one of the few states that limit the sale of some firearms and ammunition. It bans the sort of assault-weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips that James Holmes used in Aurora. The state registers handguns and will be expanding the weapons roster in 2014. There’s a 10-day waiting period while background checks look for criminals and the mentally ill.

Polls show that sentiment for controlling guns spikes nationally after shooting tragedies,  then drops back down before drifting even lower. Gallup charted a drop from 78% in favor in 1990 to 44% now.

But along with that spike in gun control sentiment is the inevitable spike in gun purchases. Requests for background checks and concealed pistol licenses are up nationally and anecdotal reports of big gun stores doing boffo business abound. Four days of recent background checks in California were up 10% month-to-month.

–Ken Broder

To Learn More:

California Gun Purchases Nearing Record (by Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle)

California Leads US in Restrictive Gun Laws (by Mike O’Sullivan, Voice of America)

Fear Prompts Gun Sales, Panic after Colo. Massacre (by Mike Baker and Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press)

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