Business is booming for the gun industry.
Following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and the Gun Control Task Force that President Barack Obama created in response, gun sales have skyrocketed at stores throughout the country and in the Quad Cities.
The first thing you notice when walking into Duck Creek Armory in Davenport is an empty wall, which normally is a display for up to two dozen guns.
Owner, Jason Bitting, says every single one has sold and supply simply cannot keep up with demand.
“It’s hard to deny that with the way that politicians are talking, gun sales are going up,” says Bitting, who has an extensive military and firearm instructional background. “If you were by any means on the fence about buying a gun, that’s a pretty good way of getting you off the fence. Act now while you still can.”
Bitting says since December 14th, 2012 – the date of the shooting at Sandy Hook – sales at Duck Creek Armory have quadrupled. A corner of his store, usually floor to ceiling with boxes of ammunition, is nearly bare.
Business is good now, but Bitting says it may not be that way in the future if dramatic changes are made to the nation’s gun laws.
Bitting says those laws are critical, especially the concealed carry law, which went into effect in Iowa on January 1st, 2011.
“The more people that have it [concealed carry], the more of a deterrent it is for criminals.”
Bitting says banning or any drastic measures to limit guns is not the answer to stopping crime.
“If a person is willing to kill people, they’re obviously already breaking the law,” says Bitting. “Breaking a smaller subsequent law is not going to stop them, so banning firearms may make it more difficult, but it’s not going to make it impossible.”
In 2011 and 2012, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department issued a total of 7,472 permits to carry a concealed weapon, which is about 311 permits every month. In just the last two weeks of December, they issued 208 permits.
The same trend applies to permits to purchase a gun. According to Sheriff Dennis Conard, the Sheriff’s Department issued 2,875 of those permits in 2011 and 2012, an average of 120 every month. They met that average in just the last two weeks of December, with 121 permits issued.
Bitting believes every person who can should have a concealed carry permit.
“It’s like a driver’s license. Your driver’s license doesn’t force you to drive a car. It allows you to drive a car. Concealed carry is the same thing. I know very few people who would carry 100% of the time. It allows you to have a firearm if you think you are going to be in a situation that would warrant it.”
Bitting offers a free concealed weapons permit class on the first and third Saturday of every month, as well as other classes. For more information on Duck Creek Armory, click here.