Pitt Co. gun permit applications triple in aftermath of Orlando shooting

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, gun sales are expected to spike across the country, as people look to protect themselves, or fear tighter regulations.

Mass shooting incidents are often followed by increased calls for gun control, yet historically, they’re also followed by increased interest in guns.

Before the Orlando tragedy, 2016 was already on track to see record high gun sales, noted by the number of firearm background checks. The FBI says nearly 12 million have been conducted so far this year, which is up 4 million from this time last year.

This trend is happening locally too. The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office says it typically receives between 5 and 15 gun permit applications a day, yet Monday, those numbers tripled.

Spokesperson Christy Wallace says there are two main motivators for this.

“Fear. People start to, you know ‘I want to be able to protect myself,'” Wallace said. “The second reason involves fear but the fact that, you know, ‘are there going to become laws that we can’t get guns like we are able to get them now?’”

The Sheriff’s Office expects these unusually high numbers to continue for at least a couple weeks.

WNCT spoke with several workers at local gun shops who didn’t want to go on camera, but say they’ve seen more business the past two days than they typically see in an entire week.

In Greenville, Colt’s Gun and Pawn manager Josh Richardson says the surge right now is in permit application, and the rush at the stores will likely follow.

“We’ve seen a little bit more foot traffic in the store. It hasn’t been super busy, but it’s definitely been busier,” Richardson said.

An AR-15 is the rifle used in the Orlando shootings. Colt’s says sales of these have increased since this weekend’s tragedy.

Stock prices of gun manufacturers soared Monday in anticipation of the impact that the worst mass shooting in U.S. history will have on sales.

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