It has not even been a week since the horrific massacre in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Data released by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations show that applications for background checks rose 43 percent in the state three days after the shooting.
On Friday, July 13, 880 people had applied for state-approved background checks. The weekend after the July 20 shooting, 2,887 people applied and were approved to buy a gun, an increase of 43.5 percent from the weekend before.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigations cannot confirm how many more people bought a firearm. But gun shops have been reporting increases in sales. Dick Rutan, owner of Gunners Den in the Colorado town of Arvada, told the Denver Post that sales have been “off the hook.” People are saying that they want to have a “chance” and “the ability to protect themselves and their families if they are in a situation like what happened in the movie theatre.”
Applications for background checks are also up around the US. In Florida, they rose 10 percent last week and gun sales rose 14 percent. Jay Wallace, owner of Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia, said that gun sales were up 300 percent in his store from a year ago.
Gun sales have similarly increased after the shooting in Phoenix that wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six other people in January 2011. They have also increased after the election of President Barack Obama, notes the BBC.
While some Democratic lawmakers have been calling for stricter gun-control laws, especially a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, their voices seem to be in the minority. With funerals being held for those who died last Friday, Obama and GOP presidential candidate have been silent on the issue as the November election draws near. Politics, it seems, must trump issues of safety.
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