Reports of looting and lawlessness after Hurricane Katrina have promped a surge in gun sales, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. More than 1,000 people came to the Slidell, La., Gun and Knife Show last Saturday. The show was nearly twice as large as one staged by the same group a month before the hurricane. Dealers at the 225-table show said firearm sales have surged around the New Orleans area as residents replace guns that were destroyed or stolen during the storm. They also reported a spike in sales to first-time gun owners. “Everyone keeps saying that a gun in the hand is better than being on the phone trying to reach the police or a 911 dispatcher,” said Alan Reese of Elliot’s Gun Shop.
Bill Stadler, a gun dealer who hosts the Slidell gun show three times a year, said, “A lot of people who have never owned a gun before are thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I ought to have one in the house just in case.’ ” To tell you the truth, it’s kind of sad to think that people feel they have to be armed for their own safety.” Stadler urges first-time gun buyers to take a course in firearm safety.