Before the school shooting in Connecticut, gun sales were already on the rise due to fears President Barack Obama would push for some sort of gun control in his second term. Now, sales are soaring.
While it may seem counterintuitive that a tragedy involving guns would make more people want to buy one, but 57 people applied for a permit to carry in Hennepin County on Tuesday alone. That's more than double the usual number. In Anoka County, officials reported a new one-day record of 36 applications on Monday.
If sales are any indication, guns may be the stocking stuffer of choice this holiday season. Gander Mountain proudly advertises itself as Minnesota's largest gun store -- and business was brisk on Tuesday.
Dick's Sporting Goods announced Tuesday they would suspend the sale of "modern sporting rifles" in all stores chainwide, but the salesperson at the store in Richfield told FOX 9 News that won't affect them because they don't sell those guns in Minnesota.
Yet, that begs the question: What is a modern sporting rifle? Apparently, it's anything like the AR-15 -- a semi-automatic, one-bullet-per-trigger-pull rifle with ammunition loaded through a magazine capable of firing 45 rounds a minute.
In the Newtown shooting, Adam Lanza's Bushmaster AR-15 used several 30-round magazines. On Tuesday, the holding company that owns Bushmaster -- Cerberus Capital Management -- announced it will sell the business, saying, "The Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level."
During the assault weapon ban that ended eight years ago, AR-15s were outlawed if they had more than two of the following features:
A pistol grip
A detachable magazine
A threaded muzzle
A bayonet lug
Manufacturers got around the ban by getting rid of the threaded muzzle and lug in the past, but the fact is, most Americans who die from gun violence aren't killed by assault weapons.
According to the most recent FBI statistics involving nearly 13,000 murders in America show 46 percent of victims were killed by handguns. Only 3 percent were killed by rifles of any kind, meaning that more people died in fist fights (6 percent) or by blunt objects (4 percent) than rifles.
Yet, the assault rifles are getting the attention now -- and seem to be driving people to buy more weapons. No one wants to see another Sandy Hook, but the question the nation faces is how to avoid it.
Until Tuesday, the National Rifle Association had been noticeably absent from the emerging debate. In a release, the organization said it is "shocked, saddened and heartbroken," by the shooting, adding that "the NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
A press conference to explain those contributions is set for Friday.