One week after 12 people were shot and killed at a showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, the California Department of Justice announced it expects state residents will buy over 700,000 pistols, rifles and shotguns in 2012.
According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, that means firearm sales this year will nearly double from five years ago, when 370,628 weapons were sold.
Gun sales in Colorado jumped significantly in the days after the shooting. The Huffington Post quotes sources as saying that in addition to a surge in California sales, Florida, Washington, Oregon, and Georgia also reported increases in gun purchases.
According to the Chronicle, our state "doesn't record the personal history of those who purchase guns, nor their reasons for buying them, so it's hard to pinpoint a reason for the increase."
Sales typically increase in large numbers after incidents like 9/11 and the Colorado shooting. One gun store owner quoted by the Chronicle spoke about new customers drawn to arming themselves after personally feeling the effects of crime.
"The police aren't there to save you," argued the owner. "They're there to clean up the mess and make a report after the fact. There aren't enough police to protect civilians - there just isn't."
Meanwhile, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is asking President Obama and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney to move beyond rhetoric and provide some concrete solutions for gun control. Their website urges you to sign a petition drive now underway.
What do you think? Do the increasing numbers of gun sales concern you? Are heavily-publicized incidents of gun violence the result of too many firearms in circulation? Or was Aurora an isolated incident, and the majority of gun owners responsible citizens simply exercising their constitutional right to bear arms?
Tell us in your comments. Then take the poll below.