Talk of new gun laws spikes firearm, ammo sales
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/21/12 at 1:52 PM
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At Dong's Guns, Ammo and Reloading, Tuesday's call to arms came early.
"Once the doors open, it's all we can do to wait on the people in here," said Dong's President David Stone, whose wife's parents founded the Tulsa gun store in 1946.
"Sometimes, we just take the phone off the hook for a couple of hours. So many people are calling and wanting to check prices, whatever, we literally don't have time."
Stone said the surge is the direct result of national legislators' having set their sights on gun control in the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother before heading to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20 children, six adults and then himself.
One of the weapons used was a .223-caliber Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16, officials have said.
Since the slayings, a number of lawmakers, including senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have spoken out for firearms restrictions. President Barack Obama is backing an attempt by Feinstein to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
"It's the talk of gun control," Stone said of the increase in business. "Nobody wants to lose their rights.
"I hope they don't do crazy stuff with the gun laws. We've been here 66 years. I would hate to think they could just put us out of business with a total gun ban."
Out of respect for the victims and their families, Dick's Sporting Goods removed all guns from sale and from display in its store nearest to Newtown on Tuesday and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all its stores nationwide, according to a news release posted on the store's website.
But here in Oklahoma, two legislators said Monday that they plan to introduce legislation aimed at arming teachers and other school personnel.
Some of Dong's five staff members have been working overtime to keep up with the demand for firearms, Stone said. He said he went online with distributors Friday night to lock in some inventory that was shipped Monday.
"I could tell just from what happened Friday that I better get what I could get while I can get it," Stone said. "People, instead of buying a gun and one box (of ammunition), they are buying a gun and a couple of cases of ammo. That's unusual."
At 2A Shooting Center, down the road from Dong's, General Manager Eric Fuson said he also has noticed an uptick in gun sales. Among his customers Tuesday was the Rev. Steve Whitaker, president and CEO of the John 3:16 Mission in downtown Tulsa.
"The thought of small children being shot by some madman is horrific to us all," said Whitaker, a gun owner. "We're all staggering with that picture in our minds.
"But my environment is much safer with the presence of firearms, whether it's in the hands of a security person or law enforcement or whether it's in the hands of a lawful gun carrier."
Whitaker said having a firearm saved his life seven years ago.
Leaving the Mission late one night, he stopped at a convenience store on North Cincinnati Avenue to gas up and fetched his gun from his vehicle after armed men threatened to kill him. The men, who tried to attack him, scattered when Whitaker brandished his weapon, he said.
"If it wasn't for the presence of my gun," Whitaker said, "I'm pretty sure I would have been harmed or killed that night."
Whitaker advocates a national debate on whether guns in schools would mitigate mass shootings.
"It seems common sense to me that if a madman would try to do some horrific, shocking crime, as we witnessed last week, that he would go to a place where there are no firearms, where people are disarmed," he said.
The bulk of the discussion, however, needs to be directed at mental health, he said.
"If we don't do something about the mental health-care crisis, it doesn't matter what we do about firearms," Whitaker said. "Guns are a part of our world. If they were to try to do some kind of a confiscation tomorrow, ... I don't know what fraction of guns it would be, but it wouldn't be many.
"Madmen are still going to find some way to harm people. We need to do something about the madness that pervades those kinds of people."
Original Print Headline: Making a run on guns
Rhett Morgan 918-581-8395
Mike Rine of Claremore looks at a Mossberg 715T .22-caliber rifle at Dong's Guns, Ammo and Reloading on Tuesday. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Wayne Briggs of Tulsa looks at assault rifles at Dong's as potential Christmas gifts. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World