No Change in Sales or Attitudes at Reno Gun Shops - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

No Change in Sales or Attitudes at Reno Gun Shops

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The debate over gun control is back on the minds of many after what happened in Las Vegas, as Democrats in Congress are again demanding tougher gun laws. But can they succeed? The smart money at Reno gun shops says, no. There have been buying binges in Reno gun shops after other mass shootings and talk of gun control, but not this time. At Bizarre Guns, manager John Clement told us, "We have a friendly, a firearm-friendly administration. Had it been the other way around, they'd be throwing all kinds of new laws at us, and that scares people so they buy in a panic." Across town at Maccabee Arms, owner Sharon Oren says there’s no buying panic there either. In fact, "Ever since the election, business all over the U.S. has been down 30% roughly."

Gun sales in Reno are steady. But despite all the talk of new gun legislation, owners and customers are firm in their view that it’s the person and not the gun that's the problem, and that guns are needed for personal protection. To, as Clement puts it, “Protect their family."

At Maccabee, Oren says when bad things happen in town and around the U.S., people want to be prepared. There's been a slow shift in Reno gun shops, with hunting taking a shrinking piece of consumer sales and personal protection taking a bigger one. He told us, "Handguns are definitely selling 50 to 1 over long guns, mostly for protection. People are feeling unsafe."

Which also may explain why women have changed what was a primarily male clientele. They tell me close to half of their customers are now females. That's precisely the reason why customer Patricia Good bought a gun. She told me, "I'm a musician. I travel a lot by myself. And I want to have something to protect myself."

Oren says as long as crime stays high, and people fear their Second Amendment rights will be infringed, people will buy guns, and new laws won't work. As he put it, "A criminal is a criminal. A criminal doesn't obey the law."

Yet every time a gun is used in a tragedy, the debate of access pops back up…with many blaming the availability of guns as the problem. Clement says, "That's like saying cars cause drunk drivers. It’s the same kind of thing. We have guns in here, take a look at our inventory. And not one of them has jumped up off the shelf and hurt us."

But in the land of free speech...that debate is as old and Smith and Wesson.

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