Gun sales soar in the wake of mass tragedies

By Bianca Buono

bbuono@abc6.com

@BBuonoABC6

Rhode Islanders are taking safety into their own hands.Gun stores in Rhode Island are seeing some of the highest sales they’ve ever seen.

President Obama says one solution is making the country’s gun laws even stricter; but as those proposed laws languish in congress, the threat of change to the current laws and people’s fear for their and their family’s safety is pushing gun sales to near record levels.

"Gun sales have probably gone up triple,” said Craig Lebeau of Sakonnet River Outfitters.

Over the past two months, business has been better than ever at Sakonnet River Outfitters in Tiverton. And it’s not just because of the holidays.

"A lot of people are worried that they’re no longer going to be able to buy firearms with politics lately and home defense,” said Sakonnet Rivers Outfitters employee Amanda Choquet.

The surge in sales started following the terror attacks in Paris. Then on Black Friday alone, the FBI processed around two firearm background checks per second, which was the same day as the shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

Since then, the terror attack in San Bernardino. This sent gun sales soaring even higher.

"Sales have been through the roof. It’s been non-stop busy here. A lot of first-time buyers,” Choquet said.

"The majority have been a lot of first-time gun buyers. We’ve done quadruple the amount of blue card tests in the past two months than we’ve done in the past few years,” said Lebeau.

Employees say those first time buyers are looking at everything from 9mm pistols to the AR15 rifle, arguably the most popular assault-style weapon. Congressman David Cicilline is currently fighting to ban all assault-style weapons.

As the focus turns once again on tougher gun laws, stores like Sakonnet River Outfitters expect that this spike in sales isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

"It was only a matter of time before people realized that it’s up to them to keep themselves safe and their families safe,” explained Lebeau.

In Rhode Island, if someone wants to buy a firearm they have to pass a written safety test. They are then issued a blue card you which allows them to make the purchase.

© WLNE-TV 2015