Gun Shop Owner Says Sales Are Increasing Dramatically

WHEELING – Sand Hill Sports of Stone Church Road owner Frank Provance said Wednesday that his gun sales have gone through the roof since the news that President Barack Obama plans to pursue new gun control laws.

The renewed interest in gun control – specifically related to semi-automatic weapons – comes on the heels of a mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school where 20 children and six adults were shot to death.

“I can’t even get any sleep,” Provance said, noting he is too busy answering the phone to take orders in addition to serving his in-shop customers.

In contrast, officials at Nathan’s Sports Shop of Bellaire and D&D Shooting Supplies, Gunsmith and Firearms of Jerusalem said they have not had an increase in sales.

Meanwhile, gun owner William Atwell Sr. of Wheeling said he understands why something needs to be done, but he believes responsible gun owners are being demonized – and it is not fair. The problem lies in criminals and mentally disturbed people getting a hold of guns, he said.

“I think they need to go after the people who are crazy enough to do that. … They need to go after the people who are insane enough to shoot kids,” Atwell said. “They want to take away our rights and that’s not right.”

Most people, Atwell said, who own semi-automatic weapons, such as AR-15s, use the guns to kill animals, such as coyotes, and during competitions.

While a number of mass shooters have purchased guns legally, Provance pointed out the Newtown shooter took his mother’s guns after shooting her. People, he said, need to keep their guns locked up.

“Something has to be done. … I understand the ban, but I hope they don’t take away our guns. I think they should be grandfathered in,” Provance said.

Provance also believes legislators should consider requiring people to receive gun safety training and learn how to properly store their guns.

“I think a lot of this is brought on by video games. They should do something about those games before they do something about guns,” he said.

Staff Writer Joselyn King contributed to this report.