The debate over gun control laws is on the minds of many. One San Diego gun shop reports an increase in gun sales before any added restrictions become law. Chris Chan reports.
The debate over gun control laws is on the minds of many and one San Diego gun shop reports an increase in gun sales before any added restrictions become law.
Gun owners around the U.S. worry new gun control laws are on the way in reaction to the tragic shooting inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Friday.
Some San Diego residents say they had already been expecting President Barack Obama to implement stricter gun laws but after the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults inside an elementary school classroom, they now believe it's a sure thing.
Spring Valley residents David and Jessica McLaughlin spent some time Sunday shopping for a gun. They say their neighbors and their grandparents have been robbed recently.
David wants the ability to protect his family that includes his 16-month-old son. “The police can only get there so fast,” he said.
However, Jessica McLaughlin said she was motivated by recent events. “All the stuff on the news, the violence, especially the shooting of the children,” she said. “Now we have our son, it's just really important to us to protect our family.”
Gun store owner Charles Garlow says sales have picked up as customers expect new gun laws after the recent tragic shootings in Portland and Connecticut.
Sales at his store California Police Equipment are "brisker" according to Garlow. While that may be part of Christmas sales, he said customers are concerned about the political debate over gun control.
“People are afraid that the government is going to restrict handguns as well as assault weapons,” Garlow said.
While he called the tragedy in Newtown a "horrendous deed" that he can't fathom, he said guns are not the culprits.
“I don’t believe the guns are at fault, I believe it’s the people who have the guns,” said Garlow.
The crackdown may not be far off. On Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) promised to introduce new gun control legislation at the beginning of 2013. The bill would ban assault weapons and limit high-capasity magazines.
Feinstein co-authored a 1994 ban on assault weapons, but the ban expired in 2004.
Some welcome such legislation, such as Sunny Brady, a Bay Park resident. While Brady believed people should have the right to have pistols and hunting rifles, she says there’s no need to people to have powerful assault weapons.
“There’s no necessity to have that in your own home. No necessity.”
Tom Johnston of Clairemont agreed.
"The general public -- I don't think we need assault rifles," he said.
If there is a crackdown on gun ownership, Garlow believes the honest people will be the only ones to turn in their guns.
“The bad guys steal their guns. They go out of country and buy their guns. The honest people are going to be the ones struggling without guns,” he said.
While Garlow's store is seeing a slight boost in gun sales, one store in Milwaukie, Oregon saw long lines right after news of Friday's shootings.
“Yesterday was the biggest day we've seen in 20 years,” Karl Durkheimer, owner of Northwest Armory said Sunday. “Today will probably eclipse that.”
State background checks that usually take 15 minutes, were taking up to four hours but customers didn't seem to mind the wait for firearms and ammunition.
Garlow says assault rifles are already restricted in California unlike most of the country. High capacity magazines are banned and the ability to quickly change those magazines is also restricted.