Fears stirred by the Colorado movie massacre sent Glenda Peppers to a gun
store Wednesday, right after the Villa Rica resident applied for a permit to
carry a gun in public and signed up for a gun safety course.
"If you can't walk into a movie theater and feel safe ..." she said, trailing off as she contemplated the awful prospect. "I'm a widow. I just felt I needed protection," said the 67-year-old, as she shopped for a gun at Stoddard's Range and Guns in Douglasville.
Gun stores across metro Atlanta -- and the nation -- reported a surge in firearm sales following the mass shooting Friday that killed 12 people and injured dozens of others. Some gun buyers said they felt an urgent need to better protect themselves and their loved ones. Others said they wanted to take action before any movement emerged to increase restrictions on gun ownership.
Day-to-day gun sales frequently fluctuate, but figures from states scattered from coast to coast showed a bump in sales and license applications.
In Washington state, King County, which includes Seattle, saw nearly twice as many requests for concealed pistol licenses than during the same time frame a year ago. Florida recorded 2,386 background checks on Friday, up 14 percent from the week before. Oregon checks on Friday and Saturday were up 11 percent over the month prior. Four days of checks in California were up 10 percent month-to-month.
Exact figures in Georgia were unavailable Wednesday, but several gun shops reported higher sales. However, spot checks with a handful of metro Atlanta counties found no increase in the number of applicants for permits to carry weapons.
Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna saw a "phenomenal day" on Saturday, the day after the incident, said owner Jay Wallace. He sold over 200 guns -- rifles, handguns, shotguns -- more than double what he usually sells.
"There were a lot of conversations," Wallace said. "They know the liberal Democrats will try to pass legislation for more gun restrictions."
Some Democratic lawmakers in Congress cited the shooting as evidence of the need for tougher gun control laws -- particularly a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Congress, however, hasn't passed strict legislation in more than a decade, and leaders in Washington show no sign of bringing up such measures any time soon.
Be that as it may, this weekend at Stoddard's saw more people buying guns and using the shooting range, said owner Ken Baye.
Patti Aleshire was already convinced she needed a gun prior to the mass shootings. She was at the store's gun range Wednesday working on her shooting stance.
"My husband and I talked about it," the 57-year-old retired nurse said of the incident. "I think we need to be prepared. It's like being prepared for a tornado."
In Georgia, a person buying a gun must undergo an electronic background check, performed at the store. These checks can often occur within moments, though Wallace of Adventure Outdoors said the surge in sales slowed some checks to an hour.
Obtaining a license to carry requires more extensive screening. Each county's probate court handles requests, which require the applicant to provide photo identification and proof of residency and to be fingerprinted.
The wait time for approval is about three weeks, and the permit costs
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