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Ban fear fuels run on assault weapons across Mahoning Valley

Published: Wed, December 19, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

RELATED: • Students return to Newtown classrooms

• Kasich plans to sign law allowing guns in Capitol garage

By Burton Speakman



In the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn. massacre, the fear of a new ban on assault weapons has led to a run on guns at Mahoning Valley stores.

Retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods suspended gun sales at all of its stores after last week’s elementary school shooting that left 26 dead include 20 children.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, just two days after the shooting, Gander Mountain’s advertising insert in newspapers across the country featured a semiautomatic rifle with a 30-round magazine similar to the one used by Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter.

Wal-Mart, which sells guns from the Bushmaster line at about 1,700 stores nationwide, pulled the information page for the brand’s Patrolman’s Carbine M4A3 rifle from its website Monday, according to published reports.

In a statement, the company said it remains “dedicated to the safe and responsible sale of firearms in areas of the country where they are sold.”

The shooting has spurred a nationwide — and local — debate that Mike Miller, representative of Miller Rod & Gun Inc. in Struthers, said boils down to whether a person believes the gun was responsible for the horrible act or if the person was responsible.

Violent video games have helped desensitize children to violence, he added.

“We used to carry guns into Struthers High School, put it in a locker, take it out after school, then leave school and go shoot squirrels,” Miller said. “Nobody every thought about anyone shooting anyone.”

Now, children play video games that provide extra lives for killing people and teach them how to use an AR-15 rifle by the time they’re 11, he said.

Local gun dealers were dealing with significant crowds Tuesday throughout the Valley.

“We have other dealers sending people to us for guns because they’re sold out,” Miller said. “Specifically, we just had a guy come in while on his cellphone talking to a gun dealer in Florida, he told them we had five [guns] and asked [the dealer] if he wanted to buy them all.”

Price at this point is not an issue; it’s about availability, he said.

Byron Mastriana, owner of B&B Armory in Poland, said Tuesday was his first day open since the incident and he was busy all day.

Most of the customers were looking for assault weapons, he said.

Mastriana said he can’t sell any type of assault weapons that aren’t in stock because the manufacturers do not have them available.

The companies are simply not producing them, Miller said.

Since the shooting, there have been calls for stricter gun-control measures.

The White House said President Barack Obama is “actively supportive” of efforts on Capitol Hill to reinstate an assault- weapons ban.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama would also support legislation to close the gun show “loophole,” which allows people to buy guns from private dealers without background checks.

The president has pledged to address gun violence in the coming weeks.

Gun dealers have a reason to be concerned. Assault rifles at the B&B Armory shop make up 50 percent of sales, Mastriana said. Assault rifles start at about $500 while handgun prices start around $200, according to Cabela’s website, one of the nation’s largest outdoors stores.

The government tried the gun ban before with the Brady Bill and it was proven that it didn’t work. The crime rate didn’t go down, Miller said.

“You don’t ban spoons because I’ve got a belly. They didn’t ban knives after O.J. [Simpson]’s wife [was killed],” he said.

The National Rifle Association made its first public statements Tuesday after a self-imposed media blackout. In its statement, the organization said its members were, quoting, “shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders.”

The group also said it wanted to give families time to mourn before making its first public statements. The organization pledged “to help to make sure this never happens again” and has scheduled a Friday news conference.

According to the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ figures from March, there are 108,574 licensed weapons in Ohio. There are nearly 3.2 million registered weapons nationally.

In addition, the Ohio Attorney General’s office reported that in the third quarter this year, 158 people received concealed-carry licenses in Columbiana County, 26 licenses were renewed, two were suspended and one was denied.

In Mahoning County, 119 licenses were issued, 58 renewed, four suspended, one revoked and one denied. Trumbull County had 235 people issued concealed-carry licenses, 71 renewed, and nine licenses were suspended.

Statewide, for the quarter, 13,949 concealed-carry licenses were issued, 3,447 renewed, 281 suspended, 547 revoked and 200 licenses denied.

The statewide figures represent an increase over previous quarters.

The state has seen a growing number of people getting concealed-carry permits over the past few years, according to information from the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Dick’s Sporting Goods released a statement explaining its decision to suspend gun sales.

“We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, Conn., and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community,” according to the company statement. “Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chain-wide.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods did not provide any indication of how long gun sales will be suspended.

Cerberus Capital Management plans to sell its controlling stake in Freedom Group International, which makes Bushmaster rifles, one of the weapons that was used to kill elementary school children in Newtown. Cerberus representatives called Friday’s tragedy a “watershed event” in the debate over gun control.

Investors also continued to bail out of other gunmakers as shares in publicly traded gun makers dropped for a third day.

Shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. dropped $3.74, or 8.5 percent, to $40.26 in afternoon trading Tuesday. They’re down more than 10 percent since Thursday, the day before the shooting. Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. fell 11 percent to $7.70, and are down 19.3 percent from their Thursday close.

The activity comes as the political winds appear to be shifting. Some Republicans now say they’re willing to discuss the issue of gun control — along with mental health issues and violent video games.

Associated Press reports contributed to this story.


1DACOUNTRYBOY(1264 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

If a gun ban does occur then the documentation from these pre-ban sales can easily facilitate their confiscation as contraband. Guns are worthless without ammunition and the next step would be to ban ammo sales. We are entering a new era where the rights of the majority are curtailed over the actions of a few criminals.

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2Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who feels the need to have an assault weapon and high capacity cartridges is by definition someone whose thought processes are clouded with paranoid fantasies. They are the very ones who, under the right (or wrong) circumstances will use these weapons on innocents. That is the litmus test; their names should be published similar to the way we let citizens know about pedophiles in the neighborhood. They should have to wear GPS monitors, get special license plates and have a large "GN" (for gun-nut) stamped on their forehead so that their relatives, friends, co-workers, law-enforcement and the person in the next seat in the bar, restaurant or theater knows the danger they present.

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3redeye1(5673 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

@ Countryboy I was at a gun shop yesterday and believe me people weren't only buying guns , but also plenty of ammo to go with those guns. Myself included

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4charms(228 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago


Assault weapons are in wide circulation and are the latest in firearm technology. Semi-automatic pistols have been manufactured for over 100 years and are also in wide circulation.

People who want to ban certain guns in hope of curtailing violence aren't living in the real world. They are the ones who are paranoid.

Law abiding citizens ought to be able to purchase whatever weapons not currently restricted to the military or to police to protect themselves and their families.

I heard yesterday on the radio about a U.S. school where a bombing killed many students in the 1920's.

Violence isn't a recent problem in this country.

It's the deteriorating nature of our "death culture oriented" society that results in the carnage we witnessed last Friday.

Increase the penalties for gun violence, take more precautions before allowing someone to purchase a gun, but you'll never sell me that you will curtail violence merely by restricting the sale of guns currently available.

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5Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Stan/Hulk may have bought three

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6pacer(68 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Guns don't kill. A gun can lay on a table for a year and no one is killed unless a person picks it up and uses it to KILL another person.
By the way, MILLIONS of babies are KILLED every day by PEOPLE preforming ABORTIONS. Who are standing up for them? Who are carrying their voices to the government? MAYBE THEY DON'T COUNT FOR ANYTHING. 'G'

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7cambridge(4150 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

The key word in the headline of this article is "fear". It's what the cowards feel, it's the reason they need their hand guns and military assault weapons. Pussies one and all.

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8Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Certain folks removed the ten commandments from schools, removed a great deal of authority from the teachers , emphasized personnel gain over concern for others and produced violent graphic video games and we get these narcissistic little monsters. What is wrong with "Thou Shalt not Kill" ? What is wrong with the golden rule? They neither respect themselves nor anyone else.

I agree with Mr Miller. My parents who grew up in Youngstown in the old days saw lots of hunters carry their shotguns and 22 rifles heading out to the outlying areas on buses for rabbit and squirrel hunting and like Lockwood Blvd. without even a strange look.

We need to treat the heart of the problem. This evil young man did not buy these guns. One does not need a gun to carry out evil. One of my son's fellow students suggested why not arm the teachers, that could have saved lives? The teacher said We aren't going to talk about that.

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9DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Everyone is panicking for no reason. Outlawing guns isn't going to happen but measures are going to be taken to reduce the damage some lunatic can do. My guess is you'll see a ban on high capacity magazines and some sort of effort to get those in circulation outlawed. If these lunatics do get their hands on a weapon lower capacity magazines will mitigate the damage they can do.

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10Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Dwight a mag can be dropped and locked and loaded in a couple of seconds. Plus the evil doers usually carry multiple weapons. It is time to address the real problem which is the mind set of these kids and how they get there.

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11Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who feels a need to have an assault weapon and high-capacity magazines are into paranoid fantasies. They are not stable and should not have access to arsenals. There is no rational need to have these weapons other than paranoid fantasies.

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12isaac45(414 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

so miller's a gun salesman and a psychiatrist and video reviewer?...the vindy seems to have given him carte blanche

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13Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Hey "charms"....why do you need automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines??? What drives you to own them?? What do you fantasize is going to happen? Is the government going to send agents in the night? Is there going to be mass insurrection and rioting in the streets? Are you going to be eating at Applebees one night and save the day when armed gunmen try to take people's appetizers away? Are you going to be like a super-hero vigilante and have ladies throwing themselves at you? Or when "Red Dawn" really happens are you and your paranoid friends going to head to the hills and battle the commies? Oh man, my sides hurt from laughing. Paranoid fantasies for guys who have no self-esteem and no social awareness. You'd best get down to the bunker and count your MRE's again...you know, just in case! LOL!!

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14rocky14(839 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Guns don't kill--bullets do

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15ytownredux(117 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

These extremes we see here are what is causing the problem, we have the nutty owners who think they are entitled to assault rifles for "protection" from a boogey man that doesnt exist, or the nutty ones that believe there still isnt enough of those type of guns out there that will never go away. We need a common sense middle ground. There is no need for the average citizen to own more that a rifle or handgun. Auto weapons and multi round clips are not necessary for "protection"

We also have to address the mental health and violence culture as equal parts of this bad medicine.

Some ideas here are insane. You don't arm the teachers. All that does is create a situation where a child can find or steal a gun in the classroom, and a scared teacher will have to have the steel backbone and calmness of mind to take another life. Not going to happen.

As far as the Ten Commandments in the school, that's YOUR job Bigben, whoever the parent is should be teaching the religion you practice, and not our schools. Believe or not, there is more than 1 religion and who know's what's right and wrong about the others.

If we only had handguns and rifles, I could see adults taking them to their school in college, but again, there is absolutely no reason to own automatic or semi automatic assault weapons. Their only purpose is to kill people.

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16jeepers(127 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I live alone, recently there was a home invasion near my home. If someone decides to kick in my door to see what harm they can do, I will call 911 if I'm not shaking too much. Then I will grab a gun and see who is knocking down my door. There may be shooting. But I will not be intimidated in the house my parents built many years ago. We have always minded our own business, wont tolerate being threatened in our home.

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17exlonghorn(45 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

The functionality of a weapon is what kills. These "Assault Weapons" that consumers buy are only "Assault STYLE Weapons" They are semi-automatic which simply means they shoot one round everytime you pull the trigger. They are made to resemble the real full auto military issue. They are for basement video game players who can't live with out what they see in those games. Yes, they have large capacity magazines. So, lets ban the large capacity magazines, since we MUST DO SOMETHING! I suppose we are to believe the Connecticut shooter would not have gone to shoot up the school if his magazine were limited to, say 6 rounds? This limitation would really stop someone like this? Take a walk through the aisles of Best Buy and look at the video games on display. I did.. I walked away shaking my head. In the end, the law abiding citizen will take it in the shorts,,we always do.

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18VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

That is so correct exlonghorn...law abiding citizens always get the short end of the law.

Remember the year when a child was run over by a drunk driver as the child attempted to cross the street to buy ice cream from a mobile ice cream vendor? And remember what that city did? They banned ice cream vendors! They can't keep drunk drivers off the road, but they can pass laws to keep ice cream vendors off the road.

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19VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

This is a direct reply to cambridge, who seems to think he is the absolute authority on everything, knows nothing of any substance, yet enjoys calling police officers, veterans, hunters, shooters and outdoor enthusiasts "pussies".

All I can say to all readers is...consider the source.

I am an Army Combat Veteran and a shooter. I have many friends who have concealed carry permits. Two are female school teachers and they are very good target shooters. They both agreed and conveyed to me that no one in that Connecticut school had the ability (or the guts) to stop the shooter. They all hid under their desks or in closets waiting to be shot and waiting for the police to respond. By that time 20 children were dead.

There are some (many) in this country who would try to stop the shooter. This school in Connecticut had none of those brave enough to try. This is the real tragedy in our country today. We hide and cower, waiting for someone else to save us, rather than saving ourselves and our children.

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20Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

ytownredux We armed pilots after 911. Children aren't going to get guns from teachers at school. There are guns in schools across the country and have been for some time carried by police officers.In some inner city schools it is common to offer self defense classes to the entire staff. These are all measures that can save lives. What would you have an unarmed staff do while an evil killer storms a school where there are no armed police and he has ten or 5 rounds in a mag instead of 20? That was my point.

You said, "Some ideas here are insane. You don't arm the teachers. All that does is create a situation where a child can find or steal a gun in the classroom, and a scared teacher will have to have the steel backbone and calmness of mind to take another life. Not going to happen." - -With all do respect BS. Teachers have more backbone then you'd imagine. Teachers have given there lives for students and if you think they would hesitate to pull the trigger to protect children from dying then you are truly insane.Lets see dying and having students die or killing someone who will kill you the kids and then themselves anyway? A no brainier. Plus the staff could be trained just as someone is to carry concealed. When police can be placed in the schools though they should be because lives are at stake while they are in route.

An evil person who wants to shoot people will get guns multiple guns like this evil guy did so that ending high capacity mags is not going to end the evil. All that need be done is to switch the safety off a new weapon.

The ten commandments-Oh it is my job your right and I am doing it. However my point was we had less of this going on in the past when as a society we had reminders in public places of how to behave. My dad mentioned the other day that a show called Criminal Minds was showing women being abducted raped and then murdered after giving birth . He then sold the children. Dad won't be watching any more and I never have . My point is why put something this absolutely sick on tv? I think this focus on guns is wrong headed and the focus should be on morality as a culture and taking the steps ie having armed folks in the schools to protect students and staff. And by the way they weren't auto weapons they were semi auto. You need a special permit for auto weapons.

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21Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

VINDIAK I am in agreement with you on this one. Hunters and target shooters are not pussies and if you saw some of us in person I doubt you would say that to our faces. There are deer hunters for example that donate tons of deer meat annually in Ohio to feed the hungry . A lot of combat heroes were hunters such as Audie Murphy. I am a hunter and PROUD of it.

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22WarrenRicheyKid(169 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

"Ducks must be fiercer than I thought if hunters need assault rifles to take them down." Andy Borowitz.

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23uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I wonder how many of these serial shooter killers:

1. Had pre-existing mental health issues?

2. Were on serotonin mental drugs?

3. Played violent video games for fun?

4. Lingered for years in front of TV being programmed by endless violence?

5. Were products of broken households?

6. Were anti-social outcasts?

Maybe we can pull all their political voting records and affiliations too.

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24cambridge(4150 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

vindyack...."This is a direct reply to cambridge, who seems to think he is the absolute authority on everything, knows nothing of any substance, yet enjoys calling police officers, veterans, hunters, shooters and outdoor enthusiasts "pussies". The quote you claim is mine only appears in your comment and never in comment of mine. You lied.

In any comment regarding hunting I have always been on the side of hunters including teaching their kids to hunt. Hunters are responsible gun owners and environmentalist. The police and military should always be armed with the most up to date weapons available and I've never said anything to the contrary. You saying i did is another one of your lies.

I just attribute your lies to that of an irrational paranoid gun nut.

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25Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

The so called assault rifle is a .223 caliber the same caliber many hunters choose to shoot groundhogs and coyotes with. The AR 15 style rifles are often accuarized and used for just such purposes. Ducks would be hunted with shotguns firing bird shot. A 30 06 a common caliber used to hunt deer in PA is more potent then the .223. Any rifle can be used in an assault. In reality they are just semi automatic rifles.I don't personally own an AR 15 style rifle but I know there are plenty of folks out there who use them at Camp Perry type shoots or for varmint hunting purposes.

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26Woody(493 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

The 2nd amendment has absolutely NOTHING to do with hunting. Those who make the statement, you don't need an "assault" weapon with 30 round mag to hunt (actually those who hunt wild boar do), have no understanding of what the 2nd Amendment is all about. Because we need a well regulated militia to ensure the security of our nation, and our founding father were afraid of a tyrannical government after having fought a war to get away from an oppressive government. A war where the first shots were fired because said government tried to confiscate the colonists arms. The rights of the citizens to bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. We have already been limited in the God given right to freedom and self-preservation do to a ban on fully automatic weapons, unless your have the time, connections and resources to get a type 3 license. And yes, I am against gun registration. Confiscation always starts with registration, and after confiscation comes oppression, I am referencing Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Pol Pott's Cambodia, and many others. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.

VindyYak, agree with most of what you said, except for the cowards part. The principal lunged at the shooter to try and stop him, teachers put themselves between their students and the punk shooter. What if the principal had been able to meet force with force, death toll could have been much lower.

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27southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

A "hot button" topic that will never be fully settled unless our Government becomes a Totalitarian State!

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28cambridge(4150 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

oldskool....take some viagra and you can go back to shooting in a half of a minute just like the old days and you wont even need the gun.

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2976Ytown(1371 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Did you know that more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined?

Cigarette smoking causes about 1 of every 5 deaths in the United States each year.

Exposure to secondhand smoke causes nearly 50,000 deaths each year among adults in the US

Nobody seems to be outraged by that.

source: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_stati...

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30bumbob(146 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Ban assault weapons (without exemptions) and close the gun show loopholes. There's the solution to this debate. That is all.

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