Sales of high-powered automatic weapons are through the roof after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history killed 49 people and wounded another 53 in a gay nightclub in Orlando.
The AR-15 assault rifle is also the same type of weapon used in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, which killed 20 children and six teachers, and the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which killed 12. Estimates show that over 2.5 million semi-automatic weapons are in circulation.
Weapon sales have boomed after each mass shooting, according to the Daily Mail. Those numbers even jumped after the San Bernardino terrorist attack last December, when President Obama said he would use his executive powers to expand background checks for people buying guns. He also said he would increase licensing requirements for gun dealers.
The Orlando gunman bought the weapons he used from Ed Henson’s St. Lucie Shooting Center in two separate visits, a .223 caliber AR-type rifle and a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. Henson, a retired New York police officer, insists the shooter passed all background checks. In a statement, Henson said:
‘It’s horrible but I don’t make the laws. I abide by them. My heartfelt condolences for the family and victims and I can’t imagine the horror they face. I did everything by the book. I’m not going to be made into a villain.’
Henson does not believe he holds any responsiblity for the Orlando massacre:
‘An evil person came in here and legally purchased a firearm from us. If he hadn’t gotten them from us, he would have gotten them from other places.’
A Georgia gun shop owner, Jay Wallace, says that he has seen an explosion in AR 15 sales, the weapon used in the Orlando killings, since Sunday on his Adventure Outdoors shop’s website. He said:
‘There’s one [type of customer] that’s buying them for an investment and the other one is the person that’s buying them because they’re afraid they won’t be available; they’re afraid the government is going to take them away.’
Wallace suggested that if a person is determined to kill, he or she will find a way:
‘If we want to try and get into a terrorist mind, I think they go by their religious beliefs and I don’t think the religious beliefs say kill people with a rifle.’
‘It [the terrorist’s mind] just says ‘kill people.’ And if they don’t kill people with a rifle, they’ll kill them some other way and you won’t be any less dead.’
Owner of Hunters Warehouse in Pennsylvania Tom Engle has sold between 13,000 and 15,000 sales of high-powered automatic weapons since Sunday. He prefers a universal background check for all gun purchases because it is very easy for even non-US citizens to obtain weapons. Engle said:
‘The easiest way is to obtain the hunting license. Then they basically can get the gun simple as that. As long as they have an ID of course.’
Gun Violence Archive, which tracks gun-related deaths in America, shows that 13,429 people were fatally wounded in 2015 and so far this year the number is 5,962. The deaths from firearms, including suicides, run at approximately 30,000 per year.
According to a 2010 Congressional Research Services Report, guns have killed more Americans since 1968 than died in all the wars in this country’s history. Quinnipiac University polls show between 88 and 93 percent of Americans want universal gun background checks, and more than half want an assault weapons ban.
After the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, a number of states made it more difficult for people with mental illness or with a domestic violence history to acquire guns.
‘The Republicans that control Congress are adamantly opposed to gun legislation and they will not give Obama this victory in an election year.’
‘I’m not sure if any new law would have prevented the Orlando shooting. All you can do is make these incidents harder for the criminals.’
‘In Florida, there is no background check if you don’t buy a gun through a licensed seller. So if you’re selling at a gun show, you don’t have to conduct a background check.’
H/T: Daily Mail.