Gun sales are poised to spike as talk of assault rifle bans and restrictions have reemerged in the wake of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub over the weekend.
But because the Orlando shooting was just the latest in a string of mass shootings in recent years involving semi-automatic, AR-15 style assault rifles, demand for the guns this week has been muted when compared to the aftermath of previous shootings, according to at least on local gun shop owner.
“There’ll be a knee-jerk reaction from the public that will drive sales for awhile,” said John Thyne, owner of Peabody Sports gun shop in Springboro. “But this is a different game. The Obama elections, the Sandy Hook shooting, the San Bernardino shooting and others already shook out a lot of people. In other words, a lot of people who didn’t have these guns, but contemplated having them, have already bought them.”
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Evan English, president of Olde English Outfitters gun shop in Tipp City, said he’s seen “no appreciable increase in sales” since the Orlando shooting.
“One theory is that the market is already reasonably satisfied, but I believe the general population is waiting for something more definite in the way of legislation actually being introduced before they have that kind of reaction” to rush out and buy guns.
English noted that in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 20 children were fatally shot, there was an immediate and heavy demand for assault rifles and others guns at his shop after President Obama formally proposed expanding background checks for buyers.
But Obama’s push for enhanced gun control measures was ultimately defeated by a Republican-controlled Congress, which has passed no new gun laws since Sandy Hook.
President Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have called for stricter gun control, including resuming a ban on assault weapons.
“Politically, the temperature hasn’t increased enough yet” to boost sales, English said.
Still, sales have been brisk for most gun sellers for the past several years, and many gun shop owners anticipates the trend to continue with or without a spike related to the Orlando shooting.
The number of FBI background checks conducted for gun sales in Ohio support his projections and reflect an incessant demand for firearms statewide.
Over the past five years, more than 3 million background checks were conducted in Ohio, climbing 60 percent from about 469,000 in 2011 to about 749,000 in 2015, according to the latest FBI statistics. And the number of background checks conducted through the first six months of this year, 381,994, indicate 2016 is on pace to exceed last year’s total.
The number of background checks has coincided with a surge in applications for concealed handgun licenses (CHLs) in Ohio.
For the first time ever, there are now more than a half-million valid Ohio CHLs, and the state honors an estimated 12.3 million more concealed carry licenses from other states, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.
In the the first three months of this year alone, Ohio issued 36,118 CHLs — the most ever issued in a quarter and a 132 percent increase over the same period a year ago.
The statistics come as no surprise to Ohio concealed carry instructors who have been swamped with demand for their eight-hour training sessions, required by law.
“Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) was widely criticized for supporting a reduction in required training from 12 to 8 hours,” said Jim Irvine, president of BFA’s board of directors. “The reason we supported the change was simple; we actually wanted more people to get training. The numbers we’re seeing from the Attorney General’s office indicate that the new training requirements are less intimidating, and the law is working as intended.”
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