Background checks for people wanting to buy a gun in Colorado have shot up 41% in the past week since a shooting at an Aurora movie theatre left 12 people dead.
The Washington Post reports that in the four days after the July 20 shooting, dealers submitted 3,647 requests for state background checks required to buy a firearm. That's up 41% from the same four days the previous week.
Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns, which claims to be the largest independent gun store in America says, “It’s not hunting guns they’re looking for.” “It’s self-protection handguns and military-type firearms.”
The Denver Post says weapons instructors also report a big jump in business for the training required for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Jake Meyers, an employee at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo says when he arrived for work Friday morning, just hours after the Aurora shooting, there was a lineup of 15 to 20 people waiting for the store to open. He says, "It's been insane." He says Monday was "probably the busiest Monday all year," adding that basic firearms classes are booked solid for the next three weeks, for the first time all year.
The Washington Post reports there was a jump in weapons sales at a gun show in Loveland, Colorado two days after the shooting. Dealer Mike Ellis says he regrets that no one in the theatre crowd shot back. “If there were several people carrying arms it probably wouldn’t have played out as it did.”
Gun-control advocate Tom Mauser, whose son was killed at Columbine High School in 1999 tells the Denver Post he's not surprised. "To me that's just symbolic of the fear that drives (people)."
Spikes in gun sales are not unusual in the US after mass shootings. It happened in Arizona after a gunman killed six people in 2010. Background weapons checks jumped 60% year over year in the state. And a similar increase was reported in Virginia following the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 that left 32 people dead.