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Liberty is packing heat
Something triggering increase in gun purchases
take aim
A customer shoots an eight-shot revolver Thursday during target practice at Mission Essentials’ indoor shooting range in Hinesville. Mission Essentials employee Trey Dixon said shooting class enrollments have increased recently. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger
Most local gun shop owners said sales across the region have skyrocketed in recent months.
Liberty County Probate Court Judge Nancy Aspinwall said the high number of people applying for licenses is further evidence that residents in the area are packing more heat than usual.
 In January 2008, there were 37 people who applied for licenses, but 102 people applied in January 2009. Similarly, in February 2008, 31 people applied. As of Feb. 24, 103 people had applied in 2009.
While arms retailers concur people are buying more guns than ever, they don’t all agree on why they can’t keep shelves stocked.

Burglars beware

Due to the recent rise in break-ins, Trey Dixon and Josh Works, with Mission Essentials, said a lot of citizens are interested in purchasing guns for protection.
“I know we sold guns to at least five people on Saturday who had been broken into,” Dixon said.
He said shooting class participation also is up a significant amount.
“There’s a definite increase in people who know nothing about shooting coming in to learn,” Dixon said.
He also said a large number of people are coming into the store looking to buy other protective instruments, such as pepper spray or Tazers.  
“A gun isn’t the definite answer,” Dixon said, “but it’s always good to have protection.”
In addition to protecting themselves, many area residents are looking to protect their valuables. According to Dixon, a surge of customers are asking about safes to store belongings. He has placed special orders to meet recent demand.

A higher cause

Other gun shop owners think the boost in sales is probably due to issues facing the entire nation.
Local pawn shop owner Steve Troha has seen a rise in guns sales and admits he’s heard customers complaining about burglaries. However, Troha said he thinks others are concerned about gun law changes that may be effected by the new president.
“There’s been an increase in sales, but it’s been since the election,” Troha said. “It started in November.” 
There currently are no statements on either the White House Web site
or President Barack Obama’s personal Web site regarding future gun-control policies.

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