Indiana gun sales up, as debate over gun control widens

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The gun range at Beech Grove Firearms just opened this month and gun owner Steve Bryant was quick to come try it out.

“We use (guns) for hunting. We use them for sports, and that’s what I’m doing here,” Bryant said.

Bryant is one of the many people pouring through the doors at Beech Grove, largely because of debates over gun control in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.

“Considering the past days’ events … I don’t know what’s gonna happen to (certain guns). Pricing may go up and I just (want to) get one now,” Bryant said.

Owner Greg Burge said he set a sales record over the weekend. Burge even sold five shooting rifles in 20 minutes Monday.

“Sales have been brisk ever since the politicians started beating the drums,” Burge said.

Still, the debate is largely on a national level. Indiana House Speaker Republican Brian Bosma said the Republican-controlled state legislature is unlikely to change the state’s gun laws anytime soon.

“I’m sure there will be a broad number of opinions (and) discussion (this upcoming session). I don’t really forsee any specific action taken in the gun control arena,” Bosma said.

But Democratic legislator Ed DeLaney said he would bring up the issue of gun control, particularly when it comes to mental health and gun ownership.

“I don’t know what it takes for us to think that this is serious. I don’t know what it takes for us to say, you know, we really don’t need (certain) weapons for personal defense or hunting,” DeLaney said.

DeLaney introduced legislation against large magazines of ammunition in a past session but got little support. This session, he plans to focus on starting discussions, not passing laws.

“What can we do to protect people as well as to protect the right to bear arms? I think we ought to start with a clean sheet of paper,” DeLaney said.

At Beech Grove Firearms, though, Burge said he doesn’t think targeting the guns themselves is the right way.

“There is no simple answer or solution to (Newtown),” Burge said.

For Byrant, at least, it didn’t matter what Indiana will or won’t do. He decided to buy a rifle Monday, just in case.

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