NORWICH – For the past few weeks, a dramatic increase in firearm sales have swept across the nation and Chenango County is no exception. Gun vendors in the county have notice a marked increase in the number of guns being sold and many are even selling out. In particular, sales of “assault weapon” type rifles, specifically AR-15 model semi-automatic rifles, have skyrocketed, spurred on by talks of renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban which expired in 2004, in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14.
Local retailers, such as Mayhood’s Sporting Goods in Norwich, have completely sold out of all their AR-15 rifles and other similar products. “People are scared. They want their guns, and they are afraid they won’t be able to get them,” said store manager Brian Horton. “Distributors are saying we won’t be able to restock because of the ban.”
“If there has to be a ban, it should be on 35 mags not semi-automatics,” Horton added. “They are just fun for target practice and a great coyote gun."
David Francis, owner of Heading Due North in downtown Norwich, has also noticed a marked increase in the amount of guns being sold at his East Main Street store. “People you would never expect to see are buying guns,” said Francis. “People are afraid. You have a person with mental illness killing 26 people in Newtown, and now someone murdering his own mother with a hammer, setting fire to the house, and then shooting the responders. People are scared in general.”