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Guns Sales Soar Locally as Lawmakers Contemplate Gun Control

Ron's Guns in East Lyme is busier than ever as people come in to buy guns and ammunition they fear will soon be outlawed.

Call it the law of unintended consequences but as politicians are starting to talk tough on gun control, Ron's Guns in East Lyme has never been busier. "People are buying guns like it's going out of style," said owner Ron Rando. 

Business couldn't have been brisker after President Obama announced 23 executive orders regarding gun control yesterday in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last month. The store's parking lot was full and the narrow aisles between the gun racks were jammed with people, some of whom were coming in to buy guns for the first time ever.

First-time buyers were confronted with mounds of paperwork required by the state for background checks to ensure they were mentally sound and had no criminal record.

"We have 22,000 gun laws on the books right now," said Rando. "They should be enforced."

Gun Control: How Much Is Enough? 

Rando has been in the gun retail business for 40 years now and has testified against gun control measures proposed at the state Legislature in Hartford more times than he can count. And while he said he doesn't have a hard spot with some proposals, such as one that would limit magazines to 10 rounds, he fears that the end goal of gun control is to ride roughshod over the Second Amendment.

"All this is a ploy to disarm the American people," Rando said. "It's the idea of taking something away from me that I have a right to own." 

Rando isn't the only person who sees it that way. Gun control was the major topic of conversation at the store yesterday. There was talk of the federal government's actions that resulted in children dying at Ruby Ridge and Waco, and of what might happen if only government officials were allowed to carry arms.

One man came in with newspaper articles showing that the worst elementary school massacre in U.S. history was in 1927, resulting from a 55-year-old man in Bath, Michigan, who strapped a bomb to himself and walked into an elementary school. It served to bolster the oft-repeated opinion that if people are intent on doing harm, they will find a way to do it, gun or no gun.

A number of people said that if lawmakers really wanted to prevent future tragedies, they should focus more on providing mental health services than on gun control. The Sandy Hook shooter's mother had been trying for two years to get mental health care for her son, they noted, with no success. 

"Most of the shootings have come from people who do not have guns legally," said one customer at Ron's Guns from Waterford. "There are people that love and respect guns in this country who want to make sure they don't get shot by guns."  

New Fears, New Gun Owners

Rando said he's been seeing a fair number of people coming into the store who told him they never dreamed of owning a gun until Sandy Hook. One couple, both of whom were in their 80s, came in just this week to buy a gun for the first time, he said. 

"Since this catastrophe happened with this idiot kid, it's been going crazy," said Rando. "People who never wanted to buy a firearm are coming in. They say they want to be able to protect themselves."

A good number of people are also coming in to buy firearms and ammunition that they fear may not be available for much longer. "The AR-15 style is what everybody wants, plus magazines," said Rando. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic, magazine-fed, lightweight rifle that, in the wrong hands, can do considerable damage.

The shocking and highly-publicized shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School; the Aurora, Colo. movie theater; the Tucson, Ariz., shooting that targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; and the Washington D.C. sniper attacks all involved semi-automatic weapons with magazines that provided enough ammunition to facilitate a killing spree.  

At least one person came into Ron's Guns yesterday looking to buy an AR-15. The demand has been so great that there's just one display gun left in the store and that's already spoken for, Rando said.

Knee-Jerk Reactions

East Lyme resident John Drabik, who works at Ron's Guns, said he thinks much of the talk about gun control is more politics than commonsense.

"It's knee-jerk legislation based on emotion," he said. "It's time to be a little more objective. This is big government telling you what's best for you. Their agenda is not to make America safer, it's to disarm all Americans. I think it's going to lead to quite a few lawsuits." 

As Drabik sees it, "an armed society is a peaceful society."

Waterford Rez January 18, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Isn't it a little ironic that all the people without guns are taking on all the people with guns....I wonder how that will play out.... To all you libs out there who are for destroying the 2nd amendment. Question: What is the difference between the 2nd amendment and the 1st and 3rd through 10th? Answer: Nothing. If the gov can rip one to shreds, they can rip the rest. Don't kid yourself. At what point in history has the fed gov proved that it can restrain it's self? Never....NEVER. Hey, what about that pesky 5th amendment...should we really allow people to not incriminate themselves?? After all, we want to reduce crime. Make em' talk. That pesky 4th amendment? Screw it. 1st amendment? Who needs it. Those protesters are causing too much trouble. Arrest them... Reducing citizens rights are like eating a potato chip...you can't just have one... Wake up America....
Peter McDonald January 18, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Question for you Waterford Rez, if this was your 6 year old son/daughter, your wife, your mother or little grandson/grand daughter that was murdered, would you still think that there should not be some kind of gun control better than what we have now?
ed baxter January 18, 2013 at 05:47 PM
No amount of legislation of responsible gunowners could have prevented this trajedy. Responsible people are the ONLY ones that will comply with any law, existing or "feel good new" No sane person would do what was done in Sandy Hook......Colorado...ect
xsailor8 January 18, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Hey let everyone own whatever weapon was around when the 2nd amendment was ratified...what did they have back then ....single fire muskets and handguns? hey and hey should wear one of those continental hats while they are "packing."
Waterford Rez January 18, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Peter, Fair question. Although I would never really know, I would say I don't think so. We have over 20,000 gun laws now. More is not the answer. The highest crime rates are where the gun laws are strictest. It does not make sense. Now, if someone who had mental health issues and was NOT helped because the states Mental Health Services's budgets have been slashed harmed my loved ones, I do believe I would be very angry at the system that allowed a disturbed person to cause harm. Would I hate Budweiser and Ford if a drunk killed my loved one because they got drunk and drove their F-250 and killed my loved one? No, I would not. Inanimate objects are just that, inanimate. It takes either evil persons or foolish persons for those inanimate objects to wreak havoc. Tobacco kills 300,000 a year costing billions. People who abuse alcohol are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, injuries, unwanted pregnancies, spread of STDs, rape, spousal abuse, child abuse, lost jobs, lost income and many other unintended consequences destroying lives and families. Where is the outrage? Could it be that taxes on alcohol and tobacco are just to hard to pass up for states and Feds? That question is based on emotion and is very hard to discuss via Patch, that is the best I can do.
BJ January 18, 2013 at 06:44 PM
"Gun control" has NOTHING to do with guns, it is all about control. Liberals are control freaks that want to feel good about themselves by telling people what to do. They use whatever emotional issue is 'current' to create fear and then take our liberties away.
Peter McDonald January 18, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Waterford Rez, Good response. I'm not a gun owner and I don't have issues with people having guns, it's just the semi automatic military style guns i just don't think should be out in the public. Lets hope our countries leaders can straighten up our nation before it's to late!
Waterford Guy January 18, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Under that logic, lets only allow people to use the transportation available during the writing of the constitution. Since I don’t drink, I would also like to impose my will on everyone else and have them not drink, so we should re-institute prohibition. Think of all the auto accidents and drunk driving accidents that would be prevented. After all, if it saves just one life, than it must be worth the sacrifice?
xsailor8 January 18, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Uhh waterford guy...transportation devices arent designed specifically to kill people...they do so inadvertantly
mario zanghetti January 19, 2013 at 12:33 AM
If hunters need automatic military style guns to hunt i think they should pick another type of sport like ping pong
R Lee Balderdash January 19, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Animal lovers and vegans like the Newtown shooter need to be kept under closer scrutiny.
Daniella Ruiz January 20, 2013 at 02:57 PM
as a non-gun owner, i'm deeply concerned. i want the few legal owners around, not only the 'pro's' (aka cops/police/screws/pigs/safety officers), and even a few level headed illegals packin' one in their waist band, who know whos 'bad' and who's 'good'. i'm pretty sure its difficult to 'pack' an AK-45/46/47, M50 full auto and other regimental hardware under the t-shirts and stupid gang cutoffs or even under their droopy, as.ss crack showing, stupifying 'style' gear. but they have their ways i'm sure, maybe tucked up under their ho's droopy breasts, under the layers of droopy belly fat and god forbid tucked in tight near where the sun don't shine. but, all that's nonsense when some graduate up to a nice Beemer or Escalade with lot's of inside roof racks and dashboard conceals. but what i really need is an affordable personal bullet proof vest, so i can wander/stumble/jog/sing/scream at 230 am in the darkest corners of america, you know, like any normal free person should be able to, WITHOUT GETTING a few exit wounds. ;-))
Waterford Guy January 20, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Doesnt matter what the intent is....it's about saving lives. Lets march on the capital for horse and buggys and no alcohol. No body needs 470 horsepower to get to work anyways.

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