Oklahoma City gun shop owners say interest in guns has spiked since 12 were killed and 58 wounded last week in a Colorado movie theater.
“We're still a little early into this, but we're following what are some unique trends,” said Miles Hall, founder and president of H&H Shooting Sports Complex, which has a retail store, firearms and archery ranges, classes and a cafe.
Hall said fear sparked by the killings at the Aurora, Colo., premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” is driving people into his store.
“I do not believe it is about gun control and panic buying,” Hall said. “I think it has everything to do with fear and (people) wanting to take care of themselves.”
Twice the number of customers purchased items or used the shooting range during the weekend after the Colorado killings compared to the prior weekend, Hall said.
Most customers seem to be in their 30s, and they're evenly split between men and women, Hall said.
Sales were up about 40 percent compared to the same weekend last year, he said.
Hall, who communicates informally with 27 large-scale gun dealers across the U.S., said some reported triple-digit increases in gun sales the weekend after the Colorado killings, while a smaller number reported no change.
At Big Boy's Guns and Ammo, sales remained unchanged. People called wanting to know more about weapons thought to be used in the slayings, like Glock pistols and an AR-15 assault rifle, owner Mike Blackwell said.
“It's anywhere from price or availability, that kind of thing,” Blackwell said.
The weapons are available and in stock, he said.
Statewide, the number of pre-purchase firearms background checks for gun ownership reported to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System continues to rise, statistics show.
In Oklahoma, the 157,836 checks this year through June are up 29 percent over the same time period in 2011.
The FBI has not yet released statistics for July 2012.