The mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 people dead Sunday may spark an uptick in gun sales in Maryland.
Firearm manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger saw a nearly 10 percent share increase the day after the shooting, and one Maryland gun shop owner said sales were already up roughly 30 percent.
“The news cycle initially focuses on the story and the victims,” Cory Brown, owner of United Gun Shop in Rockville told ABC2. “Once the politicians get in [the conversation], they drive the sales. When the topic of gun control happens, we do start to see an increase in people coming in, at least to ask questions.”
Brown said a number of new customers stopped by his shop this week to get information about gun ownership. Some had never even been inside of a gun shop before, and came in to ask questions about the best weapons to use for home defense. The shooter, identified as Omar Mateen, reportedly used a Glock pistol and a Sig Sauer MCX rifle during the attack, both are approved firearms in the state of Maryland.
Brown believes mass shootings, and the conversations on gun control that happen in their wake, “drive curiosity and buying habits.” For example, he said, after the December attack in San Bernardino where 14 people were killed, inventory flew off the shelves at United Gun Shop.
“That was really nuts,” Brown said. “We had a month’s worth of retail sales in just a three-day period. People were scared and looking at different options.”
According to Theresa Jefferson, assistant professor of information systems and operations management at Loyola University, these fear-driven gun purchases following reported terror attacks stem from renewed calls for gun regulation.
“People are fearful of the passage of new laws,” Jefferson said. “It’s not so much a need to arm themselves to protect themselves from danger. It’s the reaction to the fear of laws that could prevent them from being able to purchase guns in the future.”
The FBI reported a 25 percent rise in background check requests since 2015, the first step customers must complete before owning a gun. CNN Money reported that 11.7 million background checks were conducted in the U.S. as of May 31, compared to 8.9 million around the same time last year.
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy staged a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor Wednesday to push for tighter gun laws.