GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The historic number of mass shootings in the United States in 2015, and fear about what President Obama may outlaw in his gun mandates, has people across the East heading to gun stores.
At Colt’s Guns in Greenville, they saw three times the number of guns sold in 2015 as they did 10 years ago.
“Protection guns, hand guns and AR-15’s, and stuff like that,” said Glenn Bowen, president of the company.
Bowen said more people are turning towards guns for protection, whereas hunting guns used to be more popular. He also said more people are buying guns they fear President Obama may outlaw, like the AR-15’s.
This trend is something Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks said he is also seeing.
“They always have that fear that this is my last chance, I need to go ahead and exercise my right to purchase a firearm,” Elks said.
In Pitt County, conceal permit applications are up nearly 20% in the last three years, with 572 applications in 2015.
In Onslow County, those numbers are even higher. Conceal permit applications are up 20.4% during the last three years, with 696 processed in 2015. Purchase permit applications are up a staggering 55%, with more 1,189 applications processed in 2015.
Bowen said a big reason for these increases are the mass shootings that have taken place across the country.
“They know they’re shooting at people that are unarmed,” he said. “They don’t go into a place where people are armed and start shooting.”
In Craven County, the number of purchase permit applications are also increasing, with a 41.9% increase in the last three years.
Bowen said he doesn’t feel as if President Obama’s mandates outlined Tuesday infringe on his rights to own a good. Instead, he said he would like to see harsher penalties for convicted felons.
“When they catch a convicted felon with a gun, instead of prosecuting, what do they do? They turn them loose,” he said. “What, for them to get another gun?”
In Beaufort County, the number of conceal permit applications actually decreased in 2015, with 148 received. However, the county did see a spike in applications in December 2015, with 75 received.