Area gun sales and applications for concealed carry permits are up, possibly as a result of new legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate that would ban assault-style weapons.
Last month, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of many assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
And, though the proposed legislation was not introduced because of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to a Feinstein press release, the timing of the bill makes Leon Pytlik, who owns Northwestern Industries in Valley City, believe the timing was too coincidental for the two to not be related.
Any time there’s any kind of a crisis, the government is quick to take advantage of it, according to Pytlik.
“There’s been a rush to buy guns,” said Pytlik. “If we had AR15s, or AR15 ammo, I could have sold it all.”
He does not carry the gun in his store because there are so many variations of the weapon, he would not which ones to keep on hand.
He’s received calls from all over the country from gun enthusiasts who want to purchase the assault-style weapon while they can.
The AR15 is a magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle first introduced for military use. It’s pistol-grip and 30-round magazine classifies it ass an assault rifle by some. Feinstien’s legislation calls for a ban of anything with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Pytlik pointed out that the Sandy Hook shooting was not done by an assault weapon but by two 9 mm handguns that would not have been affected by Feinstein’s legislation.
Anything can be used as an assault weapon, he added.
Valley City Police Fred Thompson has been busy with concealed carry permits, which have to be approved by local law enforcement. He’s seen a large increase in applications in the past several weeks.
Jere Hilland, who teaches a variety of gun-related classes at a public range in West Fargo, agreed that an increase in gun ownership may be from people worried about their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
His classes are jammed lately, he said, and he can’t keep up with the e-mail requests for concealed carry classes. He’s heard the words “Second Amendment” uttered several times, he said, though nobody has told him they are rushing to buy weapons because of a possible ban.
Last weekend, a gun show was held in the Fargo Civic Center which drew about 4,500 gun enthusiasts.
That same weekend, Scheels in Fargo was low on everything gun-related, including ammo and accessories, according to Hilland.
“I’ve never seen empty racks at Scheels before,”he said.