ST. LUCIE — Gun sales for licensed seller Rex Wilson have nearly tripled this past week since the Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12.
Wilson, of Sebastian, displayed his collection of handguns, long guns and rifles on Saturday at the Port St. Lucie Gun Show & 2nd Amendment Expo at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center, 9221 S.E. Civic Center Place.
“I’ve had a 250 percent increase. It’s incredible,” said Wilson, 58, owner of R&R Gun Shop in Sebastian. “The majority of sales have been handguns. When you see an influx like this, it’s a panic buy, and it’s justified.”
Several hundred people looked at hundreds of exhibits at the gun show, which featured handguns, rifles, stun guns, long knives and semi-automatic assault rifles.
Samuel Comacho, 58, Hobe Sound, said he’s scared guns will eventually be banned by the government.
“I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in self-defense,” Comacho said. “If the bartender had a gun behind the bar (at Pulse nightclub), maybe more lives would’ve been saved.”
Comacho said he didn’t buy any firearms at the gun show and came just for support.
Paul Trefzer, of Paul’s Guns in Sebastian, said he has seen a nearly 30 percent increase in gun sales since the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
“We’ve seen an increase in handguns, more self-protection-type weapons, rather than assault rifles,” he said. “Everyone’s afraid there’s going to be some type of gun ban.”
Trefzer, 56, said his gun shop usually sells 10 guns per day and that last week the shop sold two to three guns more than that average.
Besides viewing exhibits, patrons at the show could also participate in a 90-minute express concealed weapon license class.
Michael Strickland, executive producer for Patriot Productions, LLC, which presented the event, said the gun show was not held in response to the Orlando shooting.
“We’ve had complaints saying we put this together in response to the Orlando shooting,” Strickland said.
Gun sellers and buyers need to complete a Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check and a U.S. Department of Justice Firearms Transaction Record to buy and sells weapons, said licensed seller Gary Taninbaum.
“We’re all licensed sellers here,” said the 64-year-old from Palm Beach. “We have to fill out federal forms to see if the person is allowed to buy a gun or not.”
But, there is a loophole at gun shows, where a person can privately sell a gun to another person without a background check, Taninbaum said.
“If a person is walking around to sell their gun privately, they can do that,” he said. “There’s only 1 percent of people who privately sell their personal guns.”
Licensed seller Bob Ruth, of Palm Beach, said any weapon, except for fully-automatic weapons, can be bought at a gun show as long as the buyer is qualified and the seller is licensed.
“Very few dealers are licensed to sell fully-automatic weapons,” said Ruth, 72.
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