Many see increase in gun purchases
by Rory Doyle
Dec 23, 2012 | 2117 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., many gun owners and potential owners are exhibiting concerns that Congress will increase restrictions on firearm purchase and possession laws.

According to an Associated Press story Thursday, background checks for gun sales in some states have doubled since the tragedy.

Cleveland gun seller Willie Seaton said his sales have increased dramatically at his store downtown since the incident occurred Dec. 14.

"Sales have definitely gone up but its hard to say if it's all because of what happened in Connecticut" Seaton said. "We see a boost in sales this time each year because of Christmas, but I think the shooting is also playing a role."

Cleveland Police Officer Lamar Tindle said it's likely that some buyers feel concerned about self-defense, while other customers appear to be adding to their collections amid talks of tougher restrictions.

Tindle doesn’t expect drastic adjustments to America's longtime freedom of the right to bear arms.

"The truth is, I don't see gun laws changing that much anytime soon," said Tindle. "What could help us in this battle is better screening from some of the gun shop owners by tipping off the police when they notice costumers buying more guns and ammo than normal.

"Guns don't kill people — people using the guns kill people. The laws are fine."

While a spike in gun sales is common after a mass shooting, the latest rampage has generated record sales in some states, particularly of assault weapons.

Colorado set a single-day record for gun background check requests the day after the shootings, while Nevada saw more checks in the two days that followed than any other weekend this year. Records were also set in Tennessee, California and Virginia, among others.

Reports across the country also indicate sales of semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 used in the shootings are generating much of the interest.

According to the National Rifle Association Web site (www.nraila.org), no permit is required in Mississippi for the purchase of rifles, shotguns or handguns, however, it is unlawful for any person to sell, give or lend a firearm or pistol cartridge to any person known to be a minor or under the influence of alcohol.

Current law does not require a waiting period for the purchase of firearms.

Also, state permits or registrations are not required to possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun, but a permit to carry a handgun is mandated.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms — a federal entity — provides a background check form a person must fill out in order to purchase a gun.

"The customer fills out the form, the shop owner calls the ATF and the applicant is immediately screened," said Tindle. "If the store is not busy, a customer could walk in and legally purchase a gun within 15-20 minutes."

The ATF form must be completed and presented with a valid photo ID.

A fingerprint is not required for purchase, nor does a gun have to be registered once the ATF background check has been approved.

After the purchase, the new owner must apply for a permit if they wish to carry it publically.

Permits are issued by the Mississippi Highway Patrol within 45 days and are valid for eight years.

Applicants must be a Mississippi resident for at least one year before receiving a carry permit, and the applicant must be at least 21 to receive a permit.

"We see a number of people purchase guns to use solely for self-protection at home, so a permit is not required if they don't intend to carry," added Tindle.

The current gun law in Article III Section 12 of the Mississippi Constitution is as follows: The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons.