Colo. sets record for gun background checks after shooting

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Some potential gun buyers waited in line for hours at Colorado stores on Saturday, setting a new record for gun background checks in a single day.

According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, there were more than 4,200 requests to buy guns on Saturday. That's at least 200 more than the old record set on Black Friday.

The rush to the stores comes just a day after a gunman killed 20 kids in an elementary school in Connecticut, and some say tragedies like that are the reason for the surge in requests.

"It's not a surprise to me that there were that many background checks in one day. I mean, it's amazing because people are so afraid that this government is going to take all of our privileges and rights," Ray Montgomery, owner of Ray’s Gunsmith Shop, said.

Montgomery has been in the gun business for forty years, and has clients all over the country. He said it isn’t just Colorado where people are flooding gun shops following one of the worst massacres in U.S. history, and he said he thinks the fear of stricter gun regulations following the recent shootings is what’s sending gun buyers into stores.

"They're buying everything that they can afford because they're scared to death at this government, that they want to dictate to us what we can and cannot do in this country," Montgomery said.

But others point to a different reason for the surge in background checks: safety.

"I'm kind of close to someone who was really affected by a shooting," said Kiefer Rohweder, whose friend was in the Aurora theater directly next door to where James Holmes shot and killed 12 movie-goers and injured 58 others.

"It definitely made me think, 'What if I had a gun? What if I had a concealed weapon permit, and what if I were that hero, you know?' Just dreaming,” Rohweder said.

His friend made it out unharmed, but that man's friend did not, suffering a gun shot wound to the head. The Aurora tragedy, coupled with last week's school shooting, have Rohweder ready to get a background check himself.

"I think I would actually go through with it if I had the time," he said.

KKCO 11 News spoke with staff at Sportsman's Warehouse on Monday, and they told us corporate has ordered them not to talk to the media about gun sales following the shooting in Connecticut, but employees said that as of Monday, more than 1,000 background checks were still pending at their store, and they had a 22-hour backlog at that time.

A typical background check only takes a few minutes, while many are now taking more than a day. Some stores say they are even calling in extra staff to handle added customers.

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