HOUSTON - In response to the horrific elementary school shooting in Connecticut last week, President Obama announced Wednesday the formation of a new gun control task force aimed at re-instituting a sales ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
The news Wednesday had many Houstonians rushing to gun stores to stock up before the proposed ban would make them illegal.
"I'm just trying to make sure I have enough ammunition in our home," Dottie Cupit said while browsing for guns. "I'm kind of afraid we won't be able to get it (soon)."
At Jim Pruett's Guns and Ammo in northwest Houston, the shelves were nearly empty.
"Insane," owner Jim Pruett said as he stared at an empty wall once full of guns. "The warehouses are empty and people are concerned they won't be able to get the guns (soon). It's a legitimate concern."
"I have a right to protect my family and my home," customer Shanda Tingle said. "If that gets taken away from me, I wanna be able to be prepared for that."
In Conroe, similar concern has driven business through the roof at West Fork Armory, a licensed gun manufacturer.
"Right now, business has probably quadrupled," said Katelyn Scalfani, who helps run West Fork Armory. "Our website actually crashed last night because of how many users we're getting. The main thing that people are interested in right now is the magazines of 30 rounds as well as the AR-15 rifles."
While the fear of stricter gun laws has prompted the boom in business in the short-term, the proposed ban could mean the end of West Fork Armory as Scalfani knows it.
"As manufacturers, it's going to hurt," Scalfani said. "For now, all we can do is plan and prepare as best we can."
And that seems to be the same approach gun buyers are taking.
"We've noticed a very high increase in the want and need for the AR-15 rifles," Scalfani said. "People are concerned they will be banned and they won't be able to get access anymore to buy them."
Scalfani said that the waiting list to get an AR-15 is now up to two or three weeks.
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