Ed Negley has noticed an interesting phenomenon at his Shooters Bench gun store this year: A good chunk of the handgun sales are to first-time buyers.
“A lot of people have never owned one, but they feel they need to get one,” said Negley of the 30 percent increase in handgun sales at his store in West Deer. He said the store sells about 1,800 handguns a year either at the shop or via the Internet.
His experience isn’t unique.
The number of people seeking a permit to carry a concealed weapon is rising throughout the region. A contentious presidential election has fueled fears that a win by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could result in tighter gun-control laws, but store owners in the area say increased purchases have more to do with concerns about crime than presidential politics.
“People are not scared they won’t be able to get guns. They are scared about where the country has gone. They want to protect themselves,” said Nathan Cary of Bullseye Firearms in New Alexandria. He said he has sold about 1,000 handguns this year — a “huge percentage” of them to first-time buyers.