MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While some retailers are removing guns from their shelves and major investment firms are divesting themselves of investments in gun companies, weapons continue to fly off the shelf in South Florida.
Gun stores across South Florida are reporting record sales in the wake of the mass murder at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school last Friday.
The sales are being propelled by the likelihood of some new form of gun control being enacted by the federal government in the wake of the Newtown shooting deaths where 20 children and six adults were gunned down in their school.
“I ordered 5 AR15’s yesterday morning at 10 a.m., no problem,” said Walter Philbrick, owner of the 911 Gun Store and Shooting Range in Hollywood. “I called back the same company at 2 o’clock to get 5 more, all sold out.”
Philbrick said his business is up by 50 percent, with many customers looking for assault weapons or guns with clips that hold more than 10 bullets.
The move by some gun owners to buy up as many weapons as possible may accelerate Wednesday when President Barack Obama will announce his plans for new gun control initiatives. The plans could include renewing the expired assault weapons ban, ending the sale of high-capacity magazines, and other moves.
“Right now, AR15’s, I can’t get enough of them to sell,” Philbrick said. “Glock model 17, which carries 17 rounds, Glock 19, which is 15 rounds, I’m selling all I can get.”
Philbrick is also getting in on the gun-buying action.
“I’m buying about every gun I can because sales are going crazy, assault weapons, Glock pistols, shotguns are popular now,” Philbrick said.
One of his customers, Bill Grubbs, raced to the store Wednesday morning after a chemotheraphy appointment. Grubbs bought a top of the line assault rifle, fearing new laws could ban them.
“It’s just infringing on our rights to play with the toys we like to play with,” Grubbs said.
President Obama put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of leading new gun control efforts. Biden’s vast experience on Capitol Hill will be put to the test as the White House tries to push ahead with new gun laws.
The biggest national move came Tuesday when Cerberus Capital Management announced it would end its investment in Freedom Group, which produced the firearm the Newtown shooter used, a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.
Philbrick said dealers who sell guns to him are already raising their prices and are expected to raise them even more in the coming weeks.
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