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Gun and Ammunition Sales Climb After Attacks

By Jill Caniglia
Capital News Service
Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001

ANNAPOLIS - Some gun shops in Maryland reported a significant increase
not only in gun sales, but in ammunition purchases one day after terrorist attacks destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and penetrated three rings of the fortress-like Pentagon outside Washington.

Many customers at Bay Country Guns Inc. in Annapolis told manager
Larry Dunn they were worried about their safety and wanted to protect
themselves. Some even worried about the stability of the government, he
said.

"They need something to protect their homes and children in case
there's civil unrest," said Dunn. "People are getting ready for war."

Dunn's ammunition sales jumped Tuesday from an average of $200 a day
to $1,600, he said. In addition, he sold two rifles and one shotgun between
Tuesday and Wednesday. There are many days when he doesn't sell any guns,
he said.

Tuesday's attacks may have pushed some customers who were contemplating buying a gun into action, said Dunn, who expects ammunition and gun sales to remain high for a long time.

There was also about a 50 percent increase in ammunition sales at The
Gun Center in Frederick. Manager Jack Moberly said on a normal day he
will sell between five and six boxes of ammunition. On Tuesday, he sold
about 14.

Shotgun and rifle sales increased at Realco Guns in Forestville. The store sold two guns Tuesday and two Wednesday, when usually there are no gun sales, said salesman Jeffry Arias.

The increase could be related to the start of bird hunting season on
Sept. 1, and not Tuesday's attacks, said Moberly and Arias.

Ken Lamb, owner of Tackle Box in Lexington Park, noted a small increase in ammunition that was probably inspired by the terrorist attacks, he said. "If there's a perceived increase in gun sales, it's because people understand that their own safety is their personal responsibility," said Greg Costa, National Rifle Association lobbyist for Maryland.

But guns are not the answer to terrorism, said one retailer in Waldorf.

"You're just going to compound the problem if you think you're going
to walk onto an airplane with a gun," said Dennis Welch, a sales clerk at
Schelin Guns.

People cannot protect themselves from terrorism by walking around
armed all of the time, he said. 

Not all Maryland stores saw sales climb. Bart's Sports World in Glen Burnie and Bel Air Gun Exchange & Pawn, for instance, reported no sales increases.

The Maryland State Police would not comment on any increase in gun and ammunition sales. They did say there was no noticeable increase in 
requests for background checks for handguns.

Copyright 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism


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