Gun sales spike in aftermath of Colorado movie theatre shooting

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Daily Brew

While some in Colorado are talking about more gun control after last Friday's deadly shooting at a crowded Aurora movie theatre, it seems that many others are arming up.

According to an article in the Denver Post, background checks for people wanting to buy guns in Colorado jumped more than 41 percent since Friday morning's shooting, and firearms instructors say they're also seeing increased interest in the training required for a concealed-carry permit.

"It's been insane," Jake Meyers, an employee at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo told the Post adding that when he arrived at work Friday morning there were already were 15 to 20 people waiting outside the store.

"A lot of it is people saying, 'I didn't think I needed a gun, but now I do,'" Meyers said.

"When it happens in your backyard, people start reassessing — 'Hey, I go to the movies.'"

According to the Post, spikes in gun sales are not uncommon in the aftermath of mass shootings like the one in Aurora.

[ Related: A ban on guns won't curb violence in Canada's cities ]

In 2010, after a gunman in Tucson, Arizona killed six people, background checks in Arizona jumped 60 percent over the same date one year earlier.  A similar increase also occurred after the Virginia Tech University shootings in 2007.

State representative Rhonda Fields said she understands what people are thinking when they walk into a gun shop. But she hopes buying a gun isn't the only response people have.

She would like to see Congress reinstate an assault-weapons ban, and she said Colorado should look into other measures that could prevent tragedies like Friday's shooting.

"I think that's what the conversation needs to be," she told the Post.  "I don't think that to be preventative, we need to provide or have more guns."

In the meantime, however, purchasing assault-weapons in the state of Colorado is as easy as ever.

Just ask New York Daily News reporter Jeremy Pelzer who, just days after the Aurora shooting, made his way to the same stores that suspected shooter James Holmes patronized.

I told the clerk that I was looking for an assault weapon, and received a one-word response: "Great."

The salesman offered a choice of four guns. The AR-15 purchased by Holmes wasn't available, he said.

He recommended the Ruger because its ammunition was cheaper. Worked for me. I filled out the background check paperwork: Full name, address, Social Security number, city and state of birth.

There was a short questionnaire of about a dozen simple questions: Are you currently wanted for a felony? Are you an illegal resident alien?

Forty-five minutes later, I was cleared to own a 3-foot-long, black assault weapon.

Contrary to the current media refrain, the gun culture in the United States isn't ending any time soon.

[ Related: Union leader says Harper government's border layoffs means more gun smuggling ]