Call for gun control prompts boost in gun sales

More local sales follow president's call for assault rifle regulations

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – President Barack Obama's call for more gun control had an immediate effect on gun sales, though probably not the one he'd hoped.

A day after Obama urged lawmakers to restrict ownership of semi-automatic firearms, gun stores were flooded with customers.

At Green Acres Sporting Goods, long guns were in demand Monday and concealed-weapons classes over the weekend were busier than they’ve been in two years.

“You can purchase as many assault rifles or as many guns as you want at one time,” Green Acres employee Z Farhat said. “You can do as many as you want with one transaction.”

It’s actually easier for Floridians to purchase an assault rifle than a handgun, Farhat said.

Buyers have to go through the same federal background check for purchasing handguns or assault rifles, but Florida gun buyers can get their hands on assault rifles faster because there’s no three-day cooling-off period, Farhat said.

“The difference being with a handgun, if you purchase it in store and you do not have a concealed weapons permit, we have to hold the gun for three days for a cooling off period,” Farhat said. “Whereas with a rifle, a shotgun or a standard rifle, there is no waiting period.”

Gun shop employees said shotguns, AR-15s or other assault rifles are all categorized under the same title: long gun. If a buyer passes the federal background check, shops have no choice but to sell the weapon.

“If they come into your store and appear normal, dress normal, everything is fine, and they're approved. Gun shop owners aren’t mind readers. We can’t predict the future,” Farhat said.

Obama wants Congress to make sure that no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.

“What can be the possible argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security,” Obama said in a national address. “What we can do, and what we must do is make it hard for them to kill.”

Most gun owners News4Jax spoke to agreed that a person on the nation’s no-fly list shouldn’t be able to purchase handguns, but opinions varied on tighter gun regulations for Americans concerned about their own personal safety.

“It ain't going to affect me one way or another, because I got my guns, and I’m going to keep them,” David Elsod said. “They’re going to have to pay hell to get them from me one way or another.”

“I think there should be a lot more screening and background checks,” Dalton Edison said. “People always turn to the Second Amendment, but these weapons weren’t around when the Second Amendment was written, so there's a lot to take into consideration there. They're just weapons to kill a lot of people.” 

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