4 months, 1 week ago
Around America, people are voting on gun control with their bank accounts.
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Requests for gun permits soared in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties last month, mirroring a nationwide buying spree fueled by fears of tougher gun laws after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
In all, 1,971 people applied for handgun purchase permits in Mecklenburg in December, compared with 860 who applied in December 2011, according to data from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Julia Rush said the department has a backlog of applications and has used overtime to deal with what she called a “deluge of requests.” North Carolina law requires that handgun purchasers get a permit from their local sheriff’s office. The permit must be presented to the gun shop before the purchase can be made.
Such permits are not required for shotguns and rifles, including the Bushmaster AR-15 assault-style rifle used in the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 schoolchildren and six faculty and staff members dead. Federal law does prevent felons, certain types of domestic abusers and people with a history of mental illness from possessing the firearms.
Local gun stores have had lines of would-be purchasers stretching out the front door in some cases. Larry Hyatt said the crush of sales at his gun store on Wilkinson Boulevard in December was remarkable.
When The Observer visited the shop Dec. 21, a wall that had held assault-style long guns was nearly empty. Before the Newtown shooting, it had been full.
“It was just overwhelming,” Hyatt said. “We couldn’t even (get) people in the store. It’s like going to the grocery store when it snows. We started running out of some things.”
Hyatt Gun Shop saw a jump in customers the day after the president made his remarks, Larry Hyatt said. December became the single busiest month Hyatt has had since his gun store opened on Wilkinson Boulevard in 1959.
Hyatt typically has 12 or 13 staff members working the counter. During December, he had 30 coming in early and leaving late. His gunsmiths – the people who repair guns, or add accessories – were drafted as salesmen. Still, there were times when the store was full and the shelves emptied quickly.
And in a single day of sales before Christmas, Hyatt Gun Shop did more than one million dollars in business. The people who purchased these firearms aren’t planning on Dianne Feinstein telling them that they cannot bequeath their wealth – including their firearms – to their children or grandchildren. If she attempts to do so, she (and any jackbooted thugs whom she sends to enforce the laws) will meet resistance. Not the peaceful kind.