Lee Dixon, general manager of Dashiell’s Showroom, displays a Stoeger pistol-grip shotgun at the Carolina Road store on Thursday. He and other gun dealers said sales have increased this week because of fears of tougher gun regulations.

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Gun sales increase

Published 11:06pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

Local weapons dealers say sales of guns — particular high-caliber “assault rifles” — and ammunition have spiked since last week’s tragic massacre in Connecticut.

Gun enthusiasts, apparently fearing stricter regulations on particular types of guns and higher taxes on ammunition, have been snapping up merchandise this week, gun shop owners and managers say.

“They fear that the government is going to ban them or ban the manufacture of them, so they’re looking to buy them while they’re available,” said Richard Carroll, owner of Southern Gun Works on South Main Street.

But most would-be customers calling or visiting his store this week have been disappointed.

“All our distributors are sold out,” Carroll said. “They’re looking for something I don’t have.”

Other stores also reported an increase, although all of them said it was hard to tell how much of the increase was due to holiday shopping.

“We’ve seen an increase,” said Lee Dixon, general manager at Dashiell’s Showroom on Carolina Road. “Some of it’s got to do with the holiday.”

The tragedy on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., took the lives of 20 children, ages 6 and 7, as well as six educators. The gunman, whom police have identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, also murdered his mother before going to the school and killed himself as police closed in after the massacre, according to reports.

He reportedly carried a Bushmaster .223-caliber assault rifle, as well as two 9 mm handguns manufactured by Glock and Sig Sauer.

Following the rampage, President Barack Obama announced he planned to introduce gun-control proposals to Congress. Several members of Congress have vowed to do the same.

Dixon, from Dashiell’s, said he, too, has sold out of AR-style rifles and has only small-caliber rifles and shotguns left.

Gun-control legislation will affect his business as well as gun owners, he said.

“If they get drastic with it, it kills us because then people won’t buy as much,” he said.

Dixon added that everybody at Dashiell’s was saddened by the event and has prayed for the victims and their families.

At the Walmart store on College Drive, sporting goods manager Cherice Pitts said she has seen a rise in weapons sales, but “with it being the holidays, it’s an increase anyway.”

An employee at the Walmart store on North Main Street said it carries only muzzle-loader weapons.

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