Central Ohio Gun Sales Spike In Midst of Gun Control Debate

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Members of the Aim-Hi shooting club in New Albany fire at targets in the indoor shooting range.(Photo: Tom Borgerding/WOSU)
Members of the Aim-Hi shooting club in New Albany fire at targets in the indoor shooting range.(Photo: Tom Borgerding/WOSU)

The National Rifle Association today is expected to break its silence on the Newtown school shootings. During the past week, while calls for tough gun control increased, gun sales spiked at some Central Ohio gun shops.

This week, the target shooting range at the Aim Hi gun store in New Albany is busy. Three men, wearing protective eyewear and ear protection fire handguns at paper targets 50 yards away.

In the showroom, a half-dozen customers browse gun and ammunition displays. Many of the guns are locked in glass display cases, long guns hang on the walls behind the counters.

The president of Aim-Hi, Claire Marvin, did not give specific figures, but he says sales have spiked. Some of the sales are linked to holiday giving. But some customers fear stricter gun ownership laws in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.

“This bump is probably more akin to when President Obama was first elected and then re-elected. There’s a lot of talk of gun control and that’s starting to scare a lot of citizens.” Says Claire Marvin.

Because of brisk sales across the country, Marvin says in some cases gun shop owners have had to wait up to eight hours for F-B-I background checks on buyers. Usually, there is no wait.

Marvin says he’s pleased the NRA has waited before responding to the school shootings in Newtown.

“I see this as a lot of it as political grandstanding. I think the NRA has done the smart thing. They’ve kept their mouth shut. They let the families grieve. You know, they let some of that grief take its course. And then they’ll come out and make an impassioned statement.” Says Marvin.

The NRA is among the most powerful lobby groups in congress for gun rights. A non-partisan organization, the Center for Responsive Politics says the NRA spent 18 million dollars in this year’s election backing both republican and democratic candidates.

In the parking lot of Aim Hi, customer and shooting range club member Bill Eckert loads his long guns into the back of his SUV. He’s mildly frustrated with renewed efforts to restrict gun ownership.

“I mean if you look at our history, prohibition, I mean you name it, everything that has ever been done in order to control substances, I mean marijuana, drugs, and so forth. Laws don’t do anything. I mean people who want guns or anything else illegal are going to get it.” Says Eckert.

Eckert says the Newtown shootings are terribly tragic. He adds, that as the father of three sons, he doesn’t know what the parents of the child victims are going through.

  • DollySosa

    I give the NRA and gun manufacturers a huge amount of credit — they are very skillful at fomenting paranoia and hysteria about people’s guns being taken or all gun sales being stopped. Ground yourselves in reality, folks. The 2nd Amendment is in place and the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed it. No one who can legally own a gun will have it taken. The most that *might* possibly happen is that some high-capacity magazines will be restricted, background checks will become more consistent, and certain models of rifles may become restricted. Time will tell, but I think time will prove me right, and those of you frantically snapping up guns and ammo will have mainly accomplished lining the pockets of gun manufacturers.