Colo. sets record for gun background checks after shooting

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

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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  • by Scott1 on Dec 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM
    Right. A pro-gun rally just days after twenty kindergartners are gunned down in their classroom. What could go wrong? What side of this issue are you on, AP?
  • by AmericanPatriot. on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:39 AM
    Anonymous, I have been trying to track this rumor down all morning. I have called several 2nd amendment groups in state and out of state. No one seems to know where it is coming from. But there is a great deal of interest on the internet. I wonder why the second amendment groups aren’t picking up on this. As a Tea Party co-founder I recognize the opportunity so maybe they are seeing it, they’re just not ready to announce their time and place, which if you think about it may be a smart way to go. I will keep my ear to the ground because I believe where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And this rally thing could spread like wildfire in the grass roots social media and I’m a grass roots kind of guy. I’ve seen it work and it’s very empowering.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 18, 2012 at 09:20 AM
    AP let us know if you get more information. I suspect a lot of these gun buyers and permit seekers will turn out. I hope they have an area large enough to hold thousands from all over the country. See you there.
  • by AmericanPatriot. on Dec 18, 2012 at 06:52 AM
    I just received an email last night indicating that a multi-state gun ban protest is in the works. There is no time or place listed but I predict that this protest will be larger than the Tea Parties. I will post further info when I receive it. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
  • by Szabla Location: Location on Dec 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM
    A gun to be a hero, I hope I never have to use it in self-defense, but to not be armed and well practiced is ignorant.
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