After the incomprehensible tragedy in Connecticut last Friday, most Floridians reacted like the rest of the nation: by crying, hugging their kids, and having an honest conversation about mental illness and gun control. Tens of thousands of Sunshine State residents, however, also took the massacre as a cue to head to their local gun shop to make a fevered run on high capacity magazines and assault rifles before the GUBMINT steps in to take them away.
Background checks in Florida for new guns have soared by 135 percent since the mass child killing, with a particular run on the kind of high powered weaponry at the center of most new gun control proposals.
The Tampa Bay Times ran the numbers on statewide background checks, which are required for any new gun purchase at a licensed shop.
On Friday, the day that Adam Lanza killed 20 kids and seven adults, Floridians set a new record for December with 4,805 requests; by Saturday, that jumped to 6,945, a 44 percent jump from the previous Saturday.
The trend slowed on Sunday, a traditionally slower day for gun sales, but jumped by an even greater degree this Monday and Tuesday, with 5,735 and 7,105 requests respectively. That Tuesday figure is a 135 percent leap from the previous Tuesday, the Times reports.
One gun shop owner the paper tracked down confirmed that assault rifles and high capacity magazines were the hottest sellers, saying "it's the media driving it more than anything else."
Maybe he means guys like Rush Limbaugh, who gave the Sandy Hook tragedy all of a couple days before spending hours on his show warning his listeners that Democrats would "use" the crime to push tighter gun controls.
Don't count on it. While President Obama has created a task force and promised quick action, House Republicans have already signalled they'll be as firm in opposing new gun control laws as they've been in rejecting the president's fiscal cliff proposals.
In the meantime, the bonanza will probably continue for Florida gun shops.
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