St. Louis is on the edge, awaiting the grand jury ruling on whether or not Darren Wilson would be indicted. Wilson, the white police officer who killed unarmed teen Michael Brown in August, has made himself scarce since the murder, but the shooting set off weeks of protests, arrests, and calls for the white government officials in Ferguson to better represent the concerns of the majority black city.
The FBI has issued a warning that the decision “will likely” lead to violence against law enforcement personnel. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon pre-emptively declared a state of emergency and tapped the National Guard. Leaders of the Ku Klux Klan have threatened “lethal force” against the protesters, but quickly found themselves on the receiving end of a brutal digital beat-down at the hands of the Internet hacktivist group, Anonymous.
In the face of this, local gun stores are seeing firearm sales skyrocket. Metro Shooting Supplies, which is located near Ferguson, usually sells about 30 to 40 firearms per week.
This week, however, the store has sold about 250 — which is to say, the store has seen something like a 700% spike in sales.
Owner Steve King told the Washington Post that “these people are afraid” and “one hundred percent of them are buying because of Ferguson.”
Another St. Louis firearms shot, Defensor Tactical, has also seen a spike in gun sales. Owner John Heidbrink said that:
We’re a smaller shop in a small section of St. Louis, but we have a constant flow of business. Our volume of sales has definitely increased — not to the order of what we saw right after Sandy Hook, but it’s definitely a constant flow. Lot of interest.
Two or three of my personal friends who have been agnostic on guns and have had no real interest in buying one have suddenly asked me [about them]. So we’re seeing a lot of first-time buyers and people who just continue to collect and get more.
A third gun store owner, Al Rothweiler, the co-owner of Mid American Arms, said that he’d seen the rise in sales begin in August, but refused to comment when asked how business was lately. Rothweiler said that “my comment is ‘no comment,'” and refused to expand on why he would’t comment.
But all’s not lost. The fine professionals at the St. Louis Police Department are promising to do better. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar stated that his department was “going to try to do a better job next time.”
By which I’m left to assume there’ll be better riot armor, more tear gas, and larger riot shields.
You can watch a report below: