TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Calls for gun purchase background checks were up 77 percent on Saturday over a year ago. Sunday calls were nearly double what they were on the first Sunday in December last year.
The National Rifle Association said there is no telling if lives would have been saved if the San Bernardino Christmas party had not been a gun free zone.
Nearly 20,000 background checks have been run on Florida gun purchasers since the Wednesday shooting in California. During the same four day weekend last December, there were only 11,000 checks run. An indoor shooting range and gun shop saw a steady increase in sales at the end of the week.
“A lot of people were very concerned about what happened in San Bernardino, and we saw a large number of people come in to take three concealed weapons permit class this weekend," said tactical trainer Brian Richardson.
Background checks, which normally take 10 minutes or less, were running up to two hours.
On an average weekend, the shooting range will have 10 to 12 people show up on a Saturday for a concealed weapons class. This past weekend, twice that many showed up.
One Florida sheriff has taken to Facebook, saying its time to say what needs to be said as he urges people to learn how to use a gun as their first line of defense.
“If you are a person who is legally licensed to carry a firearm, now is the time, more than ever, to realize that you, and you alone, may be the first line of defense for you, your family and others around you in a terrorist or active shooter based scenario,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said.
The video he posted has been seen more than 50,000 times since being posted Sunday night.
"He says clearly that law enforcement can get there in minutes, but you can lose your life in seconds,” said Marion Hammer, with Unified Sportsmen of Florida.
And since Wednesday’s shootings that claimed 14 lives, it has become clear that more people are looking to protect themselves than every before.