The possibility of new gun control action has spurred sales of the firearms across the country, and Northwest Indiana is no different, according to local gun dealers.
A national debate about bans and restrictions – particularly on assault-type weapons and ammunition – has become heated following several high-profile mass shootings, the most recent at a school in Connecticut.
Roger Blythe, owner of Blythe’s Sport’s Shop in Griffith, said gun “have been really good for a while now.”
“Everyone expects there to be some type of new legislation on guns,” Blythe said. “It’s sparked a lot of sales from people who have never owned a gun before and want some type of home protection and personal defense. And it has sparked the guy who is a gun enthusiast to go out and maybe purchase that gun he’s wanted for a long time because he may not be able to do that in the future.”
Blythe said sales also have risen because there have been an increase in home break-ins. His customers also are buying more safes to make sure their firearms are locked up securely.
Earl Westforth, owner of Westforth Sports in Gary, said guns have been selling out.
“Anything you have, someone will buy it,” he said.
Manufacturers are behind and there are back orders on guns, mostly because people don’t know where gun control legislation will go, Westforth said.
“People think they better get it while they can,” he said.
He also said sales have been strong because “times are tough and people want to defend themselves.”
Westforth said the AR-15 rifle, the same type used in several mass shootings and target of a possible ban, has been the most asked about and requested by customers.
Some gun owners, such as Dave Poteete of Schererville, don’t believe it’s necessary to buy an assault-type rifle or the loaded magazine clips that go with it. He owns a handgun and two rifles and “wouldn’t change anything.”
The only recent change for Poteete is he carries his gun around more because he has a concealed carry permit.
“I view it as having a jack in the back of your car,” he said. “I hope I never have to use it, but if the time did come I’d be really glad it was there.”
Former Cedar Lake resident and gun owner Ralph Labuda said gun sales “are through the roof.” Labuda, who lives now in Lake in the Hills, Ill., where the state Senate this week failed enact an assault-weapon ban, said across the country you can’t find a tactical rifle or extended magazines, and ammunition is running low.
“Good people are fearful the Second Amendment is under attack by people who just don’t understand that only good people with guns can stop bad people with guns,” Labuda said.