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Assault Weapons Ban Talk Sparks Rise in Gun Sales

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Rifle Association may still get its way and defeat the lawmakers calling for a ban on the sale of assault rifles, but some gun store owners say it seems their customers aren't taking any chances.

"We have never seen anything like this," said Larry Hyatt, who owns a gun shop in Charlotte, N.C.  "We have the Christmas business, the hunting season business, and now we have the political business."

"We have seen a lot of things, but we have never seen anything like this, this is probably four times bigger than the last time we saw a big rush," he said.

Some of the customers in his store said it is the talk of stricter gun control in the wake of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that is driving the rush.

"The way they are trying to approach it, they are just making people who have never thought about buying a gun, now they want to come in here and buy a gun," one customer said.

At NOVA Firearms in Falls Church, Va., there have been "skyrocketing" sales following the Newtown shooting, chief firearms instructor Chuck Nesby said.

"They've been off the charts.  Absolutely skyrocketing," Nesby said.  "If I could give an award to President Obama and Sen. Feinstein [it] would be sales persons of the year."

He was referring to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who said she will introduce an assault weapons ban in January.

Sales are up 400 percent, Nesby said.

"We're completely out of the so-called assault weapons, semi-automatic firearms that are rifles," he said.  "Forty percent of those sales went to women and senior citizens.  We can't get them now.  Everybody, nationwide is out of them -- the sales have just been off the charts nationwide."

The shooting on Dec. 14, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza broke in to the elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults with a semi-automatic rifle, has even some former NRA supporters saying it's time to change the rules on assault weapons.  

Those guns were banned from 1994 until 2004, when the ban expired and was not renewed.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas suggested Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation that new regulation should be considered.

"We ought to be looking at where the real danger is, like those large clips, I think that does need to be looked at," Hutchison said.  "It's the semi-automatics and those large magazines that can be fired off very quickly.  You do have to pull the trigger each time, but it's very quick."

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat but a long-time opponent of gun control who like Hutchison has received an A rating from the NRA, has also come out in support of strengthening gun laws.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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