The gun barrel of a rifle is seen at the Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo store in Parker, Colorado July 24, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
OTTAWA -- Americans are buying more guns after last week's theatre massacre in Colorado.
U.S. firearms sales records have already been shattered since the 2008 election of President Barack Obama and the start of the recession, but gun ownership advocates say many now fear a government crack-down on the right to bear arms.
"U.S. gun owners are justifiably afraid that Barack Obama will unilaterally do something political against them," said Tony Bernardo, spokesman for the Canadian Shooting Sports Association. "Obama and (U.S. attorney general) Eric Holder have an atrocious record on implementing ridiculous firearms control."
Colorado state rubber-stamped background checks for 2,887 people who wanted to buy a gun in the days after the shooting, a 25% spike over the average Friday to Sunday stretch.
Bernardo says that along with gun owners fearing a restriction on owning firearms, it's possible some might be applying for carry and conceal permits because they want protection, thinking that if they ever are in a situation where a madman goes on a shooting spree, a responsible citizen with a legal side arm could take him down.
The theatre had signs saying it was a "gun-free zone."
Industry analysts say gun sales have also increased in Canada since the 2008 recession, by about 10% per year.
After the federal long-gun registry was killed by the Conservatives this past spring, sporting shops saw a large increase in sales of both restricted firearms, handguns, and non restricted rifles and shotguns.
"We are also seeing an increase in firearms that have been brought into the used market, we had millions of long guns in Canada that were not in the system, and many decided to divest themselves of them once they no longer feared prosecution," Bernardo said. "More people are getting involved with shooting every year, there are gigantic increases in firearms permits, our instructor crews that do training are full every weekend in Canada."
Police in Aurora, Colo., allege that suspect James Holmes stockpiled thousands of rounds of ammunition, a semi-automatic, two glocks and a shot gun. The shooter was reportedly dressed head to foot in body armour when he entered the midnight screening of Batman.