Concern that tighter gun laws might be on the way is causing already brisk Sacramento-area gun sales to spike.
Within a handful of hours of Christmas, a steady stream of shoppers arrived at Just Guns on Auburn Boulevard and left with bullets and shells by the boxes, pistols, hunting rifles, shotguns and stun guns.
What they weren't carrying out were AR-15 semi-automatic rifles akin to the weapon used in the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school and high-capacity clips.
The store didn't have them in stock, but people were still asking. And store owner Josh Deaser said the tragedy is causing gun consumers to buy up varieties of firearms they feel might be subject to restrictions.
The Dec. 14 assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left six adults and 20 children dead. The gunman also killed his mother and himself.
The shooting has people from the president to local lawmakers talking about ways to tighten gun ownership rules and that's triggering a general spike in gun sales, Deason said.
"Anytime you talk about banning something, sales are going to go up," Deaser said.
In California, the school tragedy has prompted state lawmakers to advance proposals to crack down on ammunition sales, enhance firearm registration requirements and consider gun-lock mandates and other rules.
On Monday, Deaser could scarcely find a few minutes to chat with the holiday rush on. One man and his son went through a background check, a young man picked up three rifles for a hunting trip, an older man got a lock box.
Closer to downtown Sacramento, Broadway Bait Rod and Gun is being inundated with calls about high-capacity rifles.
"It's been crazy. Every third call is about AR-15s," said James Knight, one of the sales attendants. "Everyone believes (such weapons) are going to be banned."
An apparent demand for assault rifles and accessories was also evident online. Brownells Inc., purportedly the world's largest supplier of firearms accessories and gunsmithing tools, warns customers to expect delays "due to extreme volumes" and winter storms.
On an online discussion board associated with the company, officials apologized for the backlog.
Brownells says it sold 3 1/2 years' worth of high-capacity magazines over a 72-hour period.
"The demand for magazines actually exceeded the ability for the system to keep up with the volume that was being ordered," the company wrote, adding: "We're working like crazy to get these orders to you as quickly as possible."
"It's been crazy."
sales attendant, Broadway Bait Rod and Gun