- (Photo: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)
Americans are flocking to gun stores around the country to buy the AR-15 assault weapon used by the gunman who massacred 27 people in Newtown, Conn., last Friday, fearing that authorities might start cracking down on the sales of such guns.
"Sales were through the roof on Saturday," Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a grassroots pro-gun PAC in Ohio, told Fox News. "People were buying everything they could out of fear the president would try to ban certain guns and high-capacity magazines."
On Friday, Dec. 14, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot dead 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, after killing his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby home. Among the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary were the school's principal, a psychologist, four teachers and 20 young children. The gunman eventually took his own life, and four weapons were found on his body – including two handguns and an AR-15, which were all legally purchased by his mother.
The shootings have gripped the nation, with President Barack Obama saying that America is not doing enough to protect its children, and promised to use "whatever power" he has in office in order to crack down on gun violence in America.
"In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens -- from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators -- in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," Obama said, although he did not outline the steps he plans on tacking.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, however, who is a top National Rifle Association (NRA) member, suggested that it is time to start cracking down on assault weapons.
"I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about," Manchin said.
Such weapons have sent some gun enthusiasts into a frenzy, and they have apparently also been buying the .223 ammunition used by the AR-15.
Fox News outlined a number of other gun agencies that have reported record number of sales and inquires about guns. Among them was the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, who reported a new record for single-day background check submittals this past weekend. Northwest Armory gun store owner Karl Durkheimer in San Diego said that Saturday, the day after the school shooting, was the store's biggest day in 20 years of business.
"I am selling a ton of ammunition," added Jeff Serdy, owner of AJI Sporting Goods in Apache Junction, Ariz. "My people figure it is easier for the president to ban ammunition sales than to get a gun bill through Congress."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, said on Monday that she will try to re-introduce the ban on sales of more than 100 types of assault weapons in America.
"On the first day of the new Congress, I intend to introduce a bill stopping the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of assault weapons as well as large ammunition magazines, strips and drums that hold more than 10 rounds," Feinstein said. "I am in the process of gathering support for the bill in the Senate and House."
The previous assault weapons ban lasted from 1994 to 2004, after which it was left to expire.