Local gun sales skyrocket causing background checks to slow

Residents searching for high-powered rifles on Walmart’s website or in-store at the Craig location will quickly find most are sold out.

A Sig Sauer M400 with prismatic scope, Sig Sauer M400 Enhanced Carbine ODG, Colt LE6920 Carbine Semi-Auto Rifle, and a host of others including AR 15’s all are out of stock.

As many fear for their safety and right to bear arms in wake of the Newtown, Conn. shootings, gun sales have soared through the roof in Craig and across much of Colorado.

Craig resident Jeff Knights, owner of Northwest Pawn Shop in Craig, said he’s seen his gun sales rise dramatically in the past couple of weeks.

“Almost everything’s selling right now,” Knights said. “People are just nervous. They’re buying guns, ammo and powder. We’ve seen a big spike.”

Though increased gun sales may sound good to dealers, Knights said the recent spike in sales has overloaded Colorado's background check system.

During usual peak purchase times, such as during the Christmas shopping season, Knights said there could be anywhere between 300 and 400 people in the system awaiting a background check across the entire state.

Currently there are more than 11,000 people in Colorado awaiting background checks to purchase firearms, Knights said. The total beats the highest he’s ever seen, which was about 1,400 people during the previous election.

“It’s taking about four days to get background checks done,” Knights said. “I have 35 people waiting to buy guns right now.”

The State of Colorado requires a background check be done on anyone wishing to purchase a firearm from a retailer.

Wait times for background checks to purchase a firearm usually take anywhere between a few hours to a day.

As firearm sales soar, a heated debate will continue over gun laws and regulation, with views all across the board ranging from those who favor strict regulation to those who cling firmly to their second amendment right.

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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