ANNAPOLIS – Some gun shops in Maryland reported a significant increase not only in gun sales, but in ammunition purchases one day after terrorist attacks destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and penetrated three rings of the fortress-like Pentagon in Washington.
Many customers at Bay Country Guns Inc. in Annapolis told manager Larry Dunn they were worried about their safety and wanted to protect themselves. Some even worried about the stability of the government, he said.
“They need something to protect their homes and children in case there’s civil unrest,” said Dunn. “People are getting ready for war.”
Dunn’s ammunition sales jumped Tuesday from an average of $200 a day to $1,600. In addition, he sold two rifles and one shotgun between Tuesday and Wednesday. There are many days when he doesn’t sell any guns, he said.
Tuesday’s attacks may have pushed some customers who were contemplating buying a gun into action, said Dunn, who expects ammunition and gun sales to remain high for a long time.
There was also about a 50 percent increase in ammunition sales at The Gun Center in Frederick. Manager Jack Moberly said on a normal day he will sell between five and six boxes of ammunition. On Tuesday he sold about 14.
Shotgun and rifle sales increased at Realco Guns in Forestville. The store sold two guns Tuesday and two Wednesday, when usually there are no gun sales, said salesman Jeffry Arias.
The increase could be related to the start of bird hunting season on Sept. 1, and not Tuesday’s attacks said Moberly and Arias.
Ken Lamb, owner of Tackle Box in Lexington Park, noted a small increase in ammunition that was probably inspired by the terrorist attacks, he said.
“If there’s a perceived increase in gun sales, it’s because people understand that their own safety is their personal responsibility,” said Greg Costa, National Rifle Association lobbyist for Maryland.
But guns are not the answer to terrorism said one retailer in Waldorf.
“You’re just going to compound the problem if you think you’re going to walk onto an airplane with a gun,” said Dennis Welch, a sales clerk at Schelin Guns.
People cannot protect themselves from terrorism by walking around armed all of the time, he said. Terrorism is a helpless situation, he said.
Not all Maryland stores saw sales climb, among them Bart’s Sports World in Glen Burnie and Bel Air Gun Exchange & Pawn, both of which reported no sales increase.
The Maryland State Police would not comment on any increase in gun and ammunition sales, but did say there was no noticeable increase in requests for background checks for handguns.
– 30 – CNS 09-12-01