December 18, 2012

Gun sales spike in Maine, across nation

Retailers say incidents like the massacre in Connecticut, as well as talk of new regulations, can spark a reaction by 'the just-in-case buyers.'

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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At Howell’s Gun & Archery Center in Gray, Adam Copp, the company president, said Monday that horrific crimes like Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., “just escalate fears. ... All across America, people feel such uncertainty about morality in general.”

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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J.T. Reid's Gun Shop in Auburn is normally closed on Sundays, but it opened this Sunday because of heavy demand from customers who called ahead to ask about the store's hours, said the owner, John Reid.

"People are just afraid. Friday was a classic example. People come in concerned about safety," said Reid. "Everybody's very sad about Friday."

Reid said sales this year have increased 30 percent over last year, driven in part by safety concerns and the president's re-election.

Sales this past weekend were double those of a typical weekend, said Reid, who would not say how many guns he sold.

While many gun retailers talked about concerns that the school shootings would prompt changes in gun laws, Reid said he feels that advocates and opponents of gun control must make concessions in adopting any new regulations.

Anyone who wants a concealed-weapons permit in Maine must take a gun safety class. Retailers said more and more customers are signing up for the class regardless of the requirement, just to learn the basics of proper gun-handling.

Reid, who runs a gun safety class, has noticed an influx of women participating, and has seen more women buying handguns.

For people who are uneasy about guns, Reid recommends other types of self-defense classes.

"If you can't carry a firearm and utilize a firearm, we tell some people that carrying a firearm isn't for you," he said.

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at: jhall@pressherald.com

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