Gun Sales Surge in Newtown Despite School Shootings

Thursday, 01 Aug 2013 10:47 AM

By Courtney Coren

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Gun purchase permits appear to be surging upward in Newtown, Conn., since the tragic elementary school shootings there last December, even as some parents of the 20 children killed continue to advocate for more restrictive gun laws.

As of July 24, more than 200 Newtown residents had received permits to buy pistols or other firearms, compared to the 171 permits issued throughout all of last year. The purchase permit is the first step under Connecticut law in the process of obtaining a license to actually carry a handgun or other firearm, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Despite the tragedy that occurred there on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza took 26 lives during a shooting rampage, Newtown is not unlike the rest of the country when it comes to increased gun purchases. Sales are up all across the nation, even in communities like Newtown that have been hard hit by extreme gun violence.

Nationwide, gun sales were up almost 50 percent in 2012 from where they were in 2011, the Journal reported. In Connecticut, more than 91,000 guns had been sold by July 24 of this year. If sales continue at the current rate, purchases will surpass the figures for 2012 by Oct. 1.

"I think people realize that you can't call the police all the time and expect them to save you," Bill Stevens, a Newtown resident and avid hunter, told the Journal. "It's sinking in to some folks that 'I need to take responsibility for keeping my family safe.'"

Some Newtown residents, however, are disturbed by the rise in gun sales.

"If you look at how many guns the Lanza family had in their home and what that led to, it's a recipe for disaster," said Newtown resident Dave Ackert, who founded the gun-control advocacy group, Newtown Action Alliance.

Ackert was referring to the numerous weapons, including a military assault rifle, that Lanza took from his mother's house and used to carry out his killing spree. He shot his mother with one of her own guns before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary.

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