Gun sales spike in Knoxville after Newtown shooting

6:46 PM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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Gun stores in Knoxville are selling out of certain guns, including AR-15 rifles.

Gun stores all across Knox County are experiencing some of their biggest sales of the year this week.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) says on Dec. 20 they processed 5,315 background checks. It's the biggest December one-day record from the last 15 years.

Randy's Guns & Knives in Knoxville says sales this week are up 120% to 130%.

"They're coming in and buying ammunition and high capacity clips, AR-15 guns. Any guns that have a high capacity capability, that's what they're looking for," said Randy Bowman, owner of Randy's Guns & Knives.

According to TBI, on the day of the Newtown shooting there were 3,452 gun transactions. On Saturday there were 4,624 and 1,677 on Sunday.

Sales in general were up this year on Black Friday with 5,936 in 2012 compared to 4,857 in 2011.

Coal Creek Armory in Knoxville says sales this week were off the charts, with a 300% increase from last week.

"Normally it's not that big of deal to keep inventory up as it goes out but now we're having trouble keeping up," said Jonathan Carter of Coal Creek Armory.

AR-15 rifles are nearly sold out at Coal Creek Armory.

Workers say it's not because of a heightened fear for safety but a fear legislation will ban certain weapons and reduce magazine capacity.

"There's definitely a feeling that that's going to escalate the [Obama] administration and what they're going to do and how far they're going to take it. We're seeing a lot of people trying to get in front of that," Carter said.

Bowman says Randy's Guns & Knives was sold out of AR-15 rifles before the Newtown shooting, when President Obama was re-elected.

"There was a fear that this was going to come about in the second administration," Bowman said.

Gun owners at Coal Creek Armory said they are bothered that the term "assault rifle" has been used to describe AR-15 rifles when they are really semi-automatics.

They said assault rifles are much harder to get a hold of, taking anywhere from six to nine months to purchase.

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