With the national conversation centering on gun control legislation following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, CT, and the National Rifle Association scheduling a press conference Friday to weigh in on the issue, weapons of all sorts are flying off the shelves in at least one local gun store.
"We're busier now than we've ever been," said Scott Schoenbeck, general manager of Ontargetstl.com, a Valley Park shooting range and gun store. "People are scared to death that they won't be able to buy the firearm of their choice."
Some are even scared to talk about the issue, out of fear of reprisal. Two other local gun stores declined to comment on the calls for more restrictive gun control legislation, such as the revival of a law being proposed by U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) to ban so-called assault weapons and high volume ammunition magazines, as she explained on PBS Newshour Monday.
Schoenbeck said OnTargetSTL has received a lot of "hate phone calls" since last Friday after details emerged from the murder of 20 grade school children and six adults by a 20-year-old gunman in Newtown.
But Schoenbeck said the gun control issue is simple: "It's not the gun. It's the tool that was used. I have no sympathy for people who blame the firearm."
And there are plenty of people who blaming the firearm used in Newtown, and a rising chorus of legislators who are taking direct aim at banning assault-type weapons. President Obama, who spoke eloquently at a memorial service for the Newtown schoolchildren on Sunday, has pledged to make gun control a "central issue" in his second term as President and will submit proposals to Congress in January, as reported in the New York Times.
The NRA has not responded to moves to restrict gun ownership, citing in a press release: "Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting."
The NRA, in the release, also stated it is "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again." It has a press conference scheduled for Friday.
What happens next is anyone's guess, as those with strongly-held beliefs on both sides of the gun control issue will have their say while legislators debate what changes, if any, should occur.
Are guns the problem? Or just the tool of choice in this tragic incident? Use the Comments button below to weigh in on the topic.