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Law spurs gun buying frenzy

Rush to beat new long gun database requirements

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Law spurs gun buying frenzy

Gun cases are rapidly emptying out at Manteca’s Bass Pro Shops as 2013 draws to an end.

RYAN BALBUENA/The Bulletin


POSTED December 31, 2013 1:36 a.m.

Currently only handgun purchases in California require entry into a database that tracks detailed information about the gun and the purchaser.

But that’s all going to change on Wednesday.

Manteca and Ripon gun dealers have been dealing with a crush of customers flooding in to purchase long guns – rifles, shotguns and AR-15-based models that will be included in the new law that will go into effect on Jan. 1 – so they won’t be entered into a database.

Second Amendment proponents have been vocal about their criticisms of the state’s increasingly restrictive legislative environment. High-profile public shooting incidents – the Aurora Theater shooting in July of 2012 and the Newtown School Shooting last December – sparked a renewed gun-control debate across the country. Several bills were thrust into the spotlight once they were introduced into the California political landscape.

Initially banned under the Federal assault weapons ban, AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles – which shoot small-bore ammunition – have become wildly popular with gun owners over the last several years. 

According to John Keefhaver at Shotgun Johnny’s in Manteca, there are plenty of empty spots on his walls where long guns used to hang before concerned buyers started flooding in two weeks ago. Mostly the black, AR-15-style models – both complete and parted out into the upper and lower receivers – have been the hottest sellers, and a lack of back stock will likely keep the walls bare even after Jan. 1 comes and goes.

“Basically all of the long guns are going to have to be registered the same as a handgun,” Keefhaver said. “Things like barrel length, caliber, model – all of those specifics are going to be recorded.”

And it’s not just small Mom-and-Pop operations like Shotgun Johnny’s that are having a hard time keeping their shelves stocked.

Handguns have long been in short supply at Manteca’s Bass Pro Shops, but what was an ample supply of rifles and shotguns has been thinning out over the course of the last week.

“It’s crazy to see how many people are out stocking up,” said local shopper Chris Marzen. “I don’t think I’m going to buy anything, but I don’t know – it might be a while before I’m able to get my hands on something again.”

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