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John Monson, owner of Bill’s Gun Shop and Range stores in Robbinsdale, Circle Pines and Hudson, Wis., said that since the “frenzy” started in December, demand has only recently begun to ebb for guns, ammunition and the classes required to obtain a license to carry a handgun. “The reality is, people get scared,” he said. “They think, in case of disaster, how do I defend my family?”
After a tragedy, Monson said he sees gun attitudes go in three directions: those who want more or looser restrictions and those in the middle who say, “I need to get mine.”
Monson said basic training, which is required to get a permit, is the most popular class at his shops. He also reported a near “astronomical” surge in sales. First he couldn’t keep up with the demand for guns, then he couldn’t keep up with the demand for ammunition. Traffic on his shooting ranges also was heavy, Monson said.
Partly because of popular gun-centered cable reality-style television shows, he’s seen gun ownership become “a little bit more socially acceptable,” Monson said.
“People see ‘Duck Dynasty.’ It’s about rednecks going to hunt and it’s popular as hell,” he said. The newcomers who “come in and try it, they get on the range and it’s like, ‘Damn, this is fun.’ ”
Even those who want tighter gun restrictions found good news in the numbers. “It shows that people are totally willing to go through a background check and it supports our effort to make sure people get background checks,” said Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota, which aims to end gun violence.
She stressed, however, that her group does not believe guns make people safer.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 @rochelleolson