Gun Sales Surge in St. Louis Suburbs Ahead of Grand Jury’s Decision on Ferguson Shooting

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Gun dealers in the area around Ferguson, Mo., are seeing a spike in overall sales, particularly among first-time gun buyers, ahead of a grand jury’s decision on whether to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown. One business, Metro Shooting Supplies, reported selling an average of 30 to 50 guns a day in recent weeks, which is two to three times more than usual.

“We’re selling everything that’s not nailed down,” owner Steven King told CBS News. “Police aren’t going to be able to protect every single individual. If you don’t prepare yourself and get ready for the worst, you have no one to blame but yourself.” King says 60 percent of his recent customers were first-time gun buyers.

Other gun dealers reported similar sales spikes shortly after Brown’s death on Aug. 9. The St. Louis County Police Department reports that 600 concealed-carry permits were issued between Aug. 1 and Nov. 12. Twice as many permits were issued this October than at that time last year, and 53 more were issued in the first eight business days of this month than in all of November 2013.

Police spokesman Brian Schellman said “it would be naive” to think that the increase has not been driven by concern over the grand jury decision, which could be announced any day. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and asked the National Guard to back up police in anticipation of a violent response to the decision. Protests have already been planned across the country, and six protesters were arrested for blocking access to a street in Ferguson last night, reports Yahoo News.

Photo: Screenshot from CBS News video