Orlando Mass Shooting Spawns Gun Rush at Central Texas Stores
Following Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando, the debate about guns and their role in society has once again ramped up. While some are encouraging lawmakers to make changes at the state level, others are rushing to buy guns to help feel protected. Our Stef Manisero shows us why those on both sides of the debate say change is necessary.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sunday morning's shooting in Orlando has led to another flare up of the debate over guns.
While gun control activists are hoping to make changes to the laws, gun stores say they're seeing an increase in those wanting to buy guns and register for permit to carry classes.
They say this type of gun rush is typical.
Before the Orlando shooting, gun stores also saw a spike in sales following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
Texans in the LGBT community told Time Warner Cable News that they're arming themselves for self-defense.
"I believe that if we, as citizens, could arm ourselves in the no gun free zones, then they'd have had a good chance of stopping it way before 50 people died," said resident Libbi Mathews. "I'm also a lesbian. So, this affects me, you know, a great deal."
Mathews added, "I can't say he wouldn't have gotten killed, but at least somebody would have tried to fight back."
Mathews has since added to her collection of guns.
"I own three rifles and four pistols," she said.
And she isn't alone.
Michael Cargill of Central Texas Gun Works says his store was packed with people from the LGBT community.
"They want to get a gun and they want to learn gun safety -- they want to protect themselves," he said.
The FBI says a few years back, the gunman was on a terrorist watch list, but, leading up to the shooting, he purchased the gun legally.
"Maybe he should have been put on a list and not been able to buy a gun," said Cargill.
Cargill said it's not guns that are the issue, but rather actions taken.
"A person could have used a car, he could have used an explosive," he said. "It's illegal to take a firearm into a bar or a club. It's illegal to kill people."
Meanwhile, gun control activists say mass shootings shed light on a larger issue.
"We have six people committing suicide by guns in Texas every day. We have 2800 Texans dying every year," said Andrea Brauer with Texas Gun Sense.
While lives lost can't be brought back, some believe future victims could be spared.
"If someone had been armed you just never know if it would have gone down differently," said Mathews.
Many hope this tragedy will be the one that finally brings change.
"Even the willingness just to come to the table and have a conversation would be progress to us," said Brauer.
Meanwhile, gun control activists say they're asking legislators to make changes to the state's gun laws.
They're asking Texas leaders to bring the discussion to table, and say that conversation alone would be progress.
Store owners say the most recent, large gun rush followed the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
In Texas, either the owner or manager of a bar or club can carry a gun.