Al Bacon threw up his arms in disbelief as he put down the phone.
“I don’t get it,” he said. “But we knew it would be a zoo in here today.”
Bacon, owner of Al’s Gun & Reel in Derry, turned to speak to the half-dozen customers purchasing firearms — the number he usually sees on any given day. But it was only 1:30 p.m., and approximately 50 customers had already stopped by his store.
“Where are these people coming from?” he said. “I don’t understand. We’ve been out straight. My racks are drying out.”
Local gun dealers say sales of firearms and ammunition are soaring following the shootings of 26 people at a Connecticut school Friday. It’s a trend that’s being mirrored across the country as veteran gun owners and first-time buyers flock to gun shops to buy rifles and handguns.
The local dealers said the huge increase in sales was partly due to people feeling a need to protect themselves after the shootings. But, perhaps the main reason for the surge, was the fear of tougher gun control laws, they said.
Once Frank Robertson, 32, of Bedford heard of others rushing to buy weapons, he said, he wanted to make sure he bought his new AR-15 rifle at Al’s before it was too late.
Mason Walsh, 30, of Derry only needed ammunition, but he was afraid Al’s would be sold out after hearing of the increased demand.
“I’m trying to get things before they are not available or go up in price,” he said yesterday.
Robertson, Walsh and other customers said they could understand why people would want to purchase firearms before tighter gun control restrictions are adopted.
Lawmakers and anti-gun advocates across the country are calling for stricter laws and background checks after 20-year-old Adam Lanza gunned down 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Lanza, formerly of Kingston, then shot and killed himself.