Most of the time, the only sounds in Tyler’s Lock and Load gun store is the sound of target practice in the firing range.
But for the past few weeks, the store has been filled with nine to 10 prospective patrons at one time, discussing features and prices on possible purchases. This is more than usual.
“We’ve definitely been very busy,” local firing range and Tyler gun store employee Kenneth Lottman said. “We’re booked for the next four months on our Concealed Hand Gun class.”
Citizens continued to purchase firearms in record numbers for October and November to bring the national gun sale average up 15 percent and rising.
Last month, more than 108,000 background checks were ordered nationwide just for these purchases. East Texas is no different.
“People are worried they won’t be able to buy guns because of Obama’s [anti-gun policy],” Lottman said.
Currently, eligible citizens are allowed to purchase almost any gun they please. Long-range rifles, powerful shotguns, and semi-automatic guns are some of the more controversial categories that remain legal.
Maybe the most controversial issue is the Castle law, which states that if an intruder comes into a home or a vehicle and the owner or resident believes that death or harm is intended, then the resident may shoot to kill without fear of indictment.
The National Firearm Association has proclaimed the president elect the most anti-gun president ever elected. Obama has denied this in past interviews.
“I will not take your shotgun away,” Obama said in an October appearance in Ohio. “I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away.”
Some are still not convinced.
“I’m planning on [buying a gun] because I know that Obama is gonna make it to where we can’t buy any,” Garrett Lynn, a Tyler gun owner and hunter, said.
Mark Tushnet, a Harvard Law Professor who has written about the gun debate, said that changing the gun law will not be much of a priority to the Obama administration.
Current law in Texas allows almost anybody to own firearms, unlicensed and without a permit in most cases.
“You could walk down the street with a shotgun and nobody could say anything to you,” police officer Don Martin said.
But with a Democratic president and congress, legislation might fall on friendly ears.
The Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia reported that a gun shop in Georgia displayed a sign that read “Obama sale” but was soon taken down when complaints were voiced about what that might imply.
Many believe that the gun laws that are currently in place are effective.
As a result, gun related homicides have dropped 40 percent in the past 15 years, with 60 percent of firearm deaths being suicides, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. For more information visit the Bureau of Justice Web site.