CREATED Dec. 18, 2012
LEE COUNTY - Our team coverage continues tonight as gun sales are skyrocketing throughout the nation and right here in Southwest Florida. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason is here to explain why more and more people are buying up guns after this national tragedy. Legislators plan to lobby for tighter gun control and the ban of certain types of assault rifles. That has many around here putting those guns on their Christmas lists.
The mass shooting in Connecticut has triggered a massive nationwide reaction....with gun sales skyrocketing.
John Dezendorf: "Sales are definitely up."
Mike Mason: "Really?"
John Dezendorf: "Yes."
For the first time in his life, Alex Bean is buying a handgun for protection.
Mike Mason: "What did you buy?"
Alex Bean: "I bought a 9mm handgun."
Alex has purchased weapons before, for hunting and sport but never a semi automatic handgun....and he's not the only one. Sales at Fowler Firearms in Fort Myers have doubled since the Newtown massacre.
John Dezendorf: "We saw just a small increase after the election, that was about it and then we saw an enormous surge on Saturday."
Mike Mason: "When you say enormous what do you mean?"
John Dezendorf: "A lot more than normal."
Business is booming because many feel the recent shootings may spark new legislation and renewed interest in gun control.
Alex Bean: "When you start talking about farming and droughts people go and buy more food, it's the same thing with guns."
Officials say the Newtown gunman, Adam Lanza, used an AR-15 which is a type of semi automatic rifle.
Lawmakers are expected to propose a ban on these types of assault weapons in January.
Mike Mason: “According to the law, if I wanted to buy a handgun I'd have to pass a background check and then wait for 3 days but if I wanted to buy an assault rifle or a long gun like this AR-15 I wouldn't have to wait at all. If I passed a background check I could bring it home today."
Not all gun stores are cashing in. Dick's Sporting Goods at the Gulf Coast Town Center has stopped selling assault rifles in its stores nationwide. But gun supporters say it's not the weapons that kill.
John Dezendorf: "It has nothing to do with the firearm in general it's always the gun. The gun did not walk over there and start shooting people a person did that."
Today the National Rifle Association released its first statement since the shooting, saying in part: "Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning. The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
We don't know what the NRA will say....but they're expected to make a major announcement at a press conference on Friday, exactly one week after the massacre.