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Gun sales, permit applications soar in Hall
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Seeing a spike

Applications for Georgia Weapons Carry License in Hall County:

First week of December
2011: 17
2012: 44

Second week of December
2011: 7
2012: 45

Third week of December
2011: 2
2012: 101

Source: Probate Court of Hall County

Hall County officials reported at least 50 times more people have applied for licenses to carry a gun in Georgia compared to this time last year.

Last December’s single-digit number for this week of the month — two applications — inflates that number, but the increase in both sales and applications is stark.

At Foxhole Gun and Archery on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville, shelves were bare and quarters close as a packed store of mostly men, many wearing camouflage, perused the store.

“The shelves are bare,” owner Jon Lipscomb said. “I couldn’t give you a percentage right now, but business has gone up tremendously, to the point to where we can’t keep up with it.”

He’s run the business for three years and said he has never seen it so busy.

One item is selling particularly well, he said.

“High-capacity magazines. They’re afraid, because in 1994 this happened. Between 1994 and 2004 (Congress) banned them. We’ve been through this before,” Lipscomb was referring to the 1994 congressional assault weapons ban signed by President Bill Clinton.

“These things normally sell for $15 to $18, and they’re going for $60 to $80 online right now,” he said.

A gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six educators. In the wake of that incident, some elected officials have expressed interest in toughening gun control laws, including bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines of ammunition.

Whether or not Congress passes any ban, Lipscomb said the guns are getting out there.

“There’s enough out there to supply the market for a year. And it went in a day,” he said.

Lipscomb said the sales tend to go up around Christmas, as a retail industry.

“It’s a retail business. And business goes up. But at the same time, Home Depot sells wood but they’re (Congress) not banning wood,” he said.

Comparisons to last year’s December license-to-carry applications paint the reality of what has happened with sales, as Lipscomb explained.

“With the Christmas rush, with the election, with the (Newtown, Conn.) shootings, it’s created this perfect storm,” he said. “People see it, (and say) ‘I’m not taking my family on a New Years trip. I’m spending that money on magazines.’”

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