In response to the mass shootings in San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, and Paris, gun merchants in and around New York City say, residents are flocking to stores like never before in search of firearms.
Nationally, President Barack Obama recently reiterated his call for stricter gun-control laws. Closer to home, in Connecticut, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced a plan to prevent prospective buyers from purchasing a gun if they are on a federal terrorism watch list. New York State already has some of the strictest gun control legislation in the nation, including statewide bans on assault weapons, but store owners and license specialists say people are lining up to buy their first handguns as a means of protection.
“I can definitely say there’s a lot more inquiries on how to get handgun permits,” says Arnold Martin of Pistol License Specialists of New York, a handgun license consulting firm near Madison Square Park. “Since the recent attacks, a lot more people have been calling to ask about licenses.”
Store owners themselves are reporting an increase in sales as well — especially among first-time buyers. Darren Leung, of Westside Rifle and Pistol Range in Chelsea, says his shop is always busy, but recently he’s gone from selling about twenty handguns a month to between thirty and forty. “But it’s all predicated upon first getting a license,” he says.