NO SHITAKE: DC-area Gun Sales Soar After Navy Yard Massacre

Published on September 19, 2013

LAUREL, Md. — Above the counter at Constitutional Firearms in Laurel, Md., an excerpt of the Constitution is painted in bold letters here: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

At Atlantic Guns in nearby Silver Spring, a sticker by the door proclaims, “Crime Control Not Gun Control.”

Both stores are doing a brisk trade, if the number of customers passing through their doors Wednesday was anything to go by. Just days after a mass shooting at the Washginton Navy Yard left 13 people dead, including the suspect, gun owners continued to stock up on firearms at shops bordering the capital. And most shoppers were of the same mind: Shooting tragedies are a problem that federal gun laws can’t solve.

“You can’t legislate away evil,” said Maryland lawyer Richmond T.P. Davis, who was visiting Atlantic Guns Wednesday.

The District of Columbia, where the shooting happened, has tough rules for owning any kind of firearm, and until just a few years ago handguns were banned completely.

But in Virginia legislation is more relaxed, as it is in Maryland — for the time being, at least. A new law tightening gun control in Maryland is set to come in on Oct. 1. The looming change has been sending the state’s gun enthusiasts to stores in droves.

At Constitutional Firearms in Laurel, shoppers were skeptical that mass shootings could ever be curbed through changes to the law.

“No legislation will ever stop what happened in Newtown or any other place. It’s sad, it’s unfortunate, and I feel very bad for the kids and families that were injured by it. But you’re not going to be able to change the fact that gun bans don’t stop that from happening,” said James Alexander, 28.

“There’s no foolproof method,” added the gun owner, who said he collects firearms as a hobby and is starting to hunt. “There’s never going to be a foolproof method.”

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