Church massacre reignites gun law debate

Gun sales spike after 9 killed in mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina

(Catherine Shoichet/Instagram)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – President Barack Obama was quick to raise the issue of gun control after a mass shooting at a historic Charleston, South Carolina, church left nine adults dead last week.

Dylann Roof, 21, has been charged with nine counts of murder in the massacre.

"Every country has violent, hateful or mentally unstable people," Obama said. "What's different is (that) not every country is awash with easily accessible guns."

Each time the president calls for new gun control laws, the weapons start flying off the racks at gun stores, according to gun sellers.

Phillip Gazelah, with Green Acres Sports Goods on the Westside, said his store has seen a spike in ammunition sales and an increase in first-time gun buyers. Concealed carry class registration has also doubled.

Gazelah said Floridians want to protect themselves and guarantee their future access to guns.

"I think they're more concerned with registration of the guns, more background checks on guns, restrictions on magazines, magazine size," Gazelah said. "They've already tried to ban all the hollow point ammo that people use."

The sharp uptick in gun sales is a phenomenon that's followed nearly every mass shooting in America, experts say, and prompting heated discussions on whether or not tighter gun regulations would result in a decrease in gun violence.

"It's not the guns, it's the people," gun owner Sherri Morris said. "We don't need more laws. Laws only govern those who abide by the law. Criminals don't abide by the law. It's not going to have any bearing on that."

Obama said the American culture has to change, because more than 11,000 people were killed by gun violence in 2013 alone.

"I refuse to act like this is the new normal," Obama said. "Or to pretend that it's simply sufficient to grieve and that any mention of us doing something to stop it is somehow politicizing the problem." 

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