One Twitter comment in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that left 26 dead summed up the perspective of Americans on guns.
“If you want to see what a grocery store looks like prior to a hurricane, drop by your local gun store today. Bare walls and lines.”
That circumstance has developed because Americans appear to not be ready to wait for a Washington policy discussion on guns.
“We have never seen anything like this,” Larry Hyatt, owner of a North Carolina shop, told ABC News. “We have the Christmas business and hunting season business, and now we have the political business.”
Obama and fellow Democrats in the wake of the school shooting have called for more gun restrictions and outright bans. Obama put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of a task force to make recommendations on curbing violence.
Amid the run on guns, it’s been suggested Obama be named the gun manufacturers’ “Man of the Year.”
WND called and visited a number of gun retailers and found long lines, shelves devoid of certain ammunition and frenzied clerks shaking their heads to weary throngs of customers.
WND visited Cabela’s Sporting Goods in Rogers, Minn., finding very long lines at the enormous gun counter and no evidence of any military-style semi-automatic rifles.
The counter looked more like a butcher shop before a holiday, with shoppers forced to take a number and wait in a long line to ask questions.
At 4 p.m., there was nearly 100 people in line and no less than a dozen clerks behind the counter.
A number of shoppers were disappointed when told that there were no more AR-15 style rifles in stock. The store had no idea if more stock would arrive.
One man walked away from the counter after being told that the stock of Bushmaster-type rifles was gone, saying, “I knew I should have bought the one I saw last week.”
Clearly other shoppers didn’t wait, purchasing nearly every semi-automatic rifle in sight.
A clerk referred WND to the Sidney, Neb., headquarters for comment, but calls were not returned.
A phone survey of many other Minnesota gun dealers found a very brisk sales week and a complete sellout of semi-automatic rifles.
Mike Briggs, owner of Trails End Bass Pro-Shop in Fridley, Minn., told WND that he sold out of semi-automatic weapons.
“To my knowledge, there are no rifles available at a wholesale level anywhere in the country, so I have no idea when we can resupply our inventory,” he told WND.
An Elk River, Minn., Walmart that WND visited had numerous empty spaces on its ammunition shelves.
An unidentified clerk told WND that the store had been completely cleared of .223, 9 mm and .40 caliber ammunition just in the last couple of days.
“People are scared,” said.
A customer browsing remaining supplies said, “It’s the end of the world.”
The clerk just shook his head and said, “No, it has nothing to do with the end of the world. People are freaked out by the current president and are preparing for the worst.”
Several calls to gun shops didn’t even yield a live person or an option to leave a message. Instead callers were met with a message saying, “No new orders will be taken.”
A number of other gun retailers were either too busy or unwilling to comment for WND.
A Virginia gun shop said sales were up 400 percent, and a spokesman credited Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., for proposing a ban on certain rifles.
Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said rather than banning weapons – as criminals are not likely to care whether their weapon is legal – teachers should be armed.
“If a good guy with a gun had been there [at the school], he might have been able to stop [the attack],” he said.
In Colorado, background checks for gun purchasers surged past 4,000 a day after the shooting. In Maryland, the story was similar. People applying for background checks in Seattle were stacked 10 deep.
And the West Coast Armory in Washington state posted on Facebook before and after pictures of its sales counter: