SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- the rush to buy guns and ammunition that started the day after a Connecticut school shooting is still going strong. Local guns dealers said the surge in firearms sales started Dec. 15, the day after the school massacre in Connecticut. The following week, the prospect of a renewed assault weapons ban came up, and Ozarks gun dealers quickly ran out of inventory.
"As soon as they started talking about magazine capacity bans and assault weapon bans people started calling and buying all the magazines I had," said Brent Ball, the owner of 417 Guns in south Springfield.
Ball is also a reserve officer for the Christian County Sheriff's Department. His store is just one of many around the Ozarks selling out of firearms and ammunition. Ball said his store typically keeps up to 75 guns on hand. Immediately following the Sandy Hook shooting, he had sold all but five. The most popular request has been for the AR-15, the model used by the school gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
"I get 50 phone calls a day right now (for the AR-15)," Ball said.
Springfield's Loftis Jewelry and Pawnbrokers has been just as busy, with repeat customers buying multiple new guns and ammo. The store has also seen many first-time gun owners, people who are concerned they may not be able to buy weapons in the future.
"I've never committed a crime a in my life, and I never will. There should be no reason I shouldn't be able to go and buy anything I want," said Denton Adam, a gun owner.
Everyone who buys a gun in a store must submit to a federal background check. Thanks to the rush on firearms, that process now takes much longer than it did a month ago.
"The calls that normally take 10-20 minutes can sometimes take an hour and a half, two hours," said John Hilburn, a manager at Loftis Pawn.
It may seem like the firearms rush would be good for business, but the majority of local dealers sold out of much of their inventories during the week following Sandy Hook. Since there is a similar demand nationwide, it has been difficult for dealers to secure additional guns and ammo from their suppliers.
"It's tough when I have a store full of people and nothing to sell. You have that short rush and now we're sitting and waiting for stuff to come in and there's no sales."
Leading congressional Democrats have said they plan to introduce new bills to ban assault weapons. Gun shop owners say the last time they saw this kind of rush was the week after President Barack Obama was elected for his first term in office.