And following announcements from both President Barack Obama and Governor Deval Patrick Wednesday about gun safety, they expect their supply to become scarcer.
“It has been great for business, but we can’t get anymore stock. Everything is out,” said Ted Oven, owner of the Northeast Trading Company in North Attleborough. “People are trying to buy accessories, magazines and ammunition. They are just afraid. They are buying everything they can right now. Ammunition is becoming scarce.”
Oven said following Obama’s speech alongside Vice President Joe Biden at the White House Wednesday, which focused on closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands, banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other steps to reduce gun violence, Oven had more than 45 people in his Massachusetts shop.
“You could barely move in here,” he said. “Business is brisk. It will continue to brisk. People are buying at an unprecedented rate across the country. It’s just going to continue.”
He said other shop owners he spoke with are dealing with the same high-volume sales. A quick search of Massachusetts gun shops also shows that businesses are out of stock of certain high-powered rifles.
Hours before Obama took to the podium to unveil his plan, Massachusetts Governor Patrick issued a statement calling for gun law reforms at the state level.
In his own proposal, Patrick outlined “commonsense gun safety measures,” such as amending current laws addressing weapons on school grounds, limiting sales to individuals by licensed vendors to one gun per month, and closing loopholes and requiring purchasers to undergo background checks at gun shows.
“I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now. All of us must pull in the same direction to bring about real change in this state and across the country,” Patrick said in a statement.
Patrick also called for an “important investment in mental health programs” and the reduction of access to high-powered rounds of ammunition—something Oven said isn’t clearly defined.
“Any cartridge can be considered high power,” he said. “Hunting ammunition is much more powerful. What people fail to understand is, the cartridges used by these rifles, they are so unpowerful, in some states they aren’t allowed to hunt with. I don’t know what he means according to his definition.”
As for the governor’s push for change on background checks, Oven was on board with the suggestion.
“This thing about background checks and increasing background checks for mental illness that’s a good thing,” he said. “No one would argue about that.”
Oven also didn’t see an issue with a limit on the number of purchases, adding in his experience as a business owner, it “won’t make much of a difference.”
However, he said no matter what new laws take effect, at either a federal or state level, nothing in the country will change until police focus more on criminals, and less on “regular people.”
“Whatever they put through isn’t going to make a difference whatsoever,” said Oven. “They should absolutely spend more time on criminals. Regular people have to go through so much when they want to buy a gun. It’s probably the strictest state in the country.”
Regardless of what happens, shop workers at the Northeast Trading Company expect sales to steadily increase.
“For the past month it’s been crazy. Basically, we are sold out of everything. I don’t see any sign of slowing down,” a sales associate at the shop said.
Here is an interactive map, put together by The Guardian, showing what all the gun laws are nationwide.
For more local rules and regulations, and information about Massachusetts gun laws, visit the state’s website.