Big surprise: gun sales skyrocketing near the site of St. Louis riots

APTOPIX Police Shooting Missouri

This week in St. Louis:

A young man is dead. Protesters are rioting. And honest, law-abiding citizens are being forced to re-think how they are going to protect themselves and their families.

It’s hardly surprising (but still fascinating) to hear that when a community is on the edge of martial law, gun shops are seeing a sharp increase in sales. As noted below in the St. Louis Business Journal gun shops are seeing an uncharacteristic spike in sales during what is usually one of their slowest parts of the year.

Whatever your opinion is on the death of Mike Brown, the protesters, or the police response in Ferguson, Missouri, one thing transcends all sides of this argument. When there’s a legitimate threat of violence to one’s family, or one’s self, people overwhelmingly turn to firearms to defend themselves. We’re hoping these new gun owners remember to get proper training, and have an honest discussion about firearm safety with their families and those surround them.

As always, we hope and pray for a peaceful resolution. No one wants to see anyone hurt unnecessarily, be it the protesters, the police, or innocent bystanders.

With that said, I can’t help but wonder what Everytown for Gun Safety or Moms Demand Action would suggest a homeowner do when faced with mob violence on their front doorstep…

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Gun stores see sales spike in wake of Ferguson riots

For the past two days, Steve King has been “unbelievably busy” at his gun store, Metro Shooting at 11434 St. Charles Rock Road. King said business spiked 50 percent as local residents respond to the violent events taking place in Ferguson.

“We’ve sold a variety of handguns, shotguns and AR-15s (a semi-automatic rifle),” King said. “All of the sales are having to do with home defense.”

King, who owns the store that has 17 employees and 2013 revenue of about $2 million, added that customers have ranged from new firearm buyers to those upgrading their current arsenal. He said both black and white individuals have purchased firearms at his store over the past few days.

“Usually it’s pretty slow through the summer, but this has been a huge spike for business,” King said. “People are hunkering down because those events are taking place too close to their own home … in some cases, a half a mile away. Lots of people are afraid.”

Officials at Mid America Arms, at 8205 Gravois Road, have seen a similar increase in business. Owner Al Rothweiler had to break away from his jammed-packed store this afternoon to talk to the Business Journal.

“We were closed Sunday and Monday, but today, sales have been brisk, and the store is full of people,” said Rothweiler, who estimated that his sales were also up 50 percent Tuesday compared with a typical day in August. “Everyone who bought today mentioned something about Ferguson.”

Before this week’s spike, Rothweiler said August had been a slow month for the $3.5 million business, but he doesn’t expect the spike to continue.

John Ham, public information officer for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Kansas City division that includes St. Louis, said he has not heard or seen any increase in firearms purchases for the area. Calls to the FBI requesting firearm background check statistics were not returned.

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