California gun store owners report sales surge ahead of Jan. 1 bullet button ban


A gun shop employee demonstrates how a magazine can be removed using a bullet button. (Photo: Jebb Harris/Zuma Press)

Gun stores in California say sales have doubled since Gov. Jerry Brown signed new gun control measures into law in July.

On the first of the year, Californians will no longer be able to buy semiautomatic rifles with so-called bullet buttons, which allow users to quickly remove and replace magazines. If you buy such a gun before Jan. 1, you can keep it as long as you register it with the state. With a ten day waiting period, the upcoming deadline has residents rushing out to gun stores to buy the soon-to-be-banned rifles, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sales of the long guns have doubled, gun store owners report. Since Brown signed the ban on July 1, nearly 260,000 semiautomatic rifles have been purchased in California. That’s far more than all of 2015, when more than 153,000 such guns were bought.

“We have people lined up out the door and around the block,” said Terry McGuire, owner of the Get Loaded gun store in San Bernardino County.

The gun run trend has seen exponential growth since 2003, when 126,00 guns of all kinds were sold. In 2009, when President Obama took office, that figure jumped to 242,000. By 2014, gun sales topped more than half a million. This year, the figure has doubled again. Nearly a million firearms have been purchased in California — a 40% jump over 2015 — according to the state Department of Justice.

“It’s like (Lieutenant Gov.) Gavin Newsom, (Calif. State Senate Leader) Kevin de León and (Gov.) Jerry Brown are the biggest marketing and sales guys for AR-15 and AK-47-style rifles in the state of California,” said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California. “Because of their actions, people are buying them any way they can.”

Store owners who spoke to the LA Times say residents aren’t happy with the new laws.

“People are angry,” said Pete Brown, the sales manager at a gun store in Glendale, Calif. “They are angry with the Legislature because [the law] doesn’t address crime. Nothing in the law addresses criminals. It’s another way of cutting back on what’s available to law abiding citizens, and that’s why they are angry.”

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