In the wake of last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, there's renewed talk about banning assault guns. But the tragedy is having a different effect at a First Stop Guns in Rapid City.
"Yeah, I think that we've seen an uptick in business because of the tragedy. And I think that there are people that are perhaps concerned about legislation and getting guns. And I'm sure that there are also people who think that if somebody had been armed in the situation that they might have been able to avert it," shop owner Mark Blote said.
Like many gun dealers across the state, First Stop sells the semi-automatic, high-capacity assault weapons. Blote says the guns are used for home defense, target shooting and pest control. He doesn't support a ban on the weapons.
"More gun legislation might make people feel good temporarily, that have no knowledge about guns and are intimidated by guns, but it will do no good whatsoever," Blote said.
That opinion isn't shared by everybody we found in the shop.
"I've grown up with guns my whole life. I've hunted my whole life, and I will always be a gun advocate because I've grown up in it. But I've felt that we've gone the wrong direction with the kind of guns we've offered to the public," gun owner Jim Burke said.
Since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004, people have been able to purchase military-style guns. Some have magazines that can hold up to 45-rounds.
"I'll never forget the time that he got in here 25 of these assault rifles because it was when they allowed them to start selling them. I thought to myself, 'This is just the door opener to a lot more problems when you start letting this stuff into the public's hands,'" Burke said.
But the shop's owner disagrees and hopes that the law will continue to allow the sale of assault weapons.
"I hope that common sense prevails and people determine that more gun law isn't going to solve anything and that the public sentiment is not for it so that it doesn't even get off the ground," Blote said.
Lawmakers on the state and federal level have said they're considering revising gun laws.
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