Another day. Another mass shooting. More rhetoric on gun control. The Tulsa World says gun dealers report that political talk and media stories on firearm restrictions have been driving sales. Others report high-profile shootings have directed traffic into their shops. An annual boost before the holidays also likely plays a role. Business is good. Dealers and instructors note that continuing instances of mass killings are convincing people on the fence to take the leap toward gun ownership and carry permits for personal safety. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation tracks how many first-time applicants submit paperwork for Self-Defense Act licenses. Those licenses allow a person to open- or concealed-carry a firearm. The state in 2015 is on pace to fall below 2014's 31,130 applicants but ahead of the years before 2012. The banner year was 2013 with 41,425 applications. Pat Johnston of Broken Arrow Gun Shop said his store had seen four times the business as a typical Friday. High-profile mass shootings typically generate a boost in sales, but not this much, he said.
Spikes in sales used to be associated with political rhetoric and media reports on gun restrictions, but people now have grown used to those and aren't as worried. Sales predominantly have been handguns for personal protection, he said. “What I'm seeing is folks seem to be on the fence and something like this happens and they make the decision to go ahead,” Johnston said, referencing the San Bernardino slayings. David Stone, president of Dong's Guns, Ammo and Reloading in Tulsa, sees more people buying assault weapons — AR-15s and AK-47s — driven by concerns whenever politicians or national news outlets talk about stricter gun laws. Stone said he has sold out of AK-47s. “In reality, everybody should have a gun at home — even if you're not real pro-gun — just for your own protection,” Stone said. “The police can't be everywhere, and they can't get there fast enough if something happens.”