Firearms stores see brisk business this holiday season

World Today

As the shopping hours tick down to Christmas, gun stores are getting busy. With more than 48,000 gun retailers throughout the United States, firearms have become a popular holiday gift. CCTV America’s Andrea Arenas reported this story from Washington D.C.

“Usually early November, through the end of January we see a pretty brisk sale season. What we recommend for most people is buy a gift card. That way they can come in and get whatever they want,” gun shop owner James Travis said.

Criminal background checks are required for all purchasers, and merchants must comply with various state laws.

“For the most part there are states that have waiting periods imposed. There are states that have fingerprint requirements. There are states that have their own background checks service, where you have to pay a fee for every background check that you run. It is across the board, there is not a consistency,” Travis added.

A felony conviction, drug problem, or history of mental illness are among the red flags that can disqualify would-be gun buyers.

Gun control advocates said federal restrictions should go much further.

“You pass a background check that’s run at the point of purchase you can walk away with a gun, or as many guns as you’d like. There are no limits on how many guns you can buy, really what type of guns you can buy nor what type of ammunition you can buy,” Josh Sugarmann, executive director of Violence Policy Center said.

Gun enthusiasts point to the U.S. constitutional right to bear arms, and an ever more dangerous world where guns can provide protection.

“And you just have that lineage and that legacy of growing up shooting, it’s just something you want to pass onto your children, and so on and so on, but nowadays the world’s gotten a little bit crazier and I think that people have that need for protection,” Travis said.

Two years ago, 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, prompting new calls for tighter gun regulation, but no new federal laws were ever passed.

Gun control advocates said Americans just do not understand the power of the weapons they are purchasing.

“In 2012, more than 33,000 people died from guns. I mean it’s a staggering figure. So for me, I think one of the problems is, things like Sandy Hook, though they shake the nation, they haven’t resulted in change and unfortunately, they move the bar higher as to what shocks us as a nation,” Sugarmann said.