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Gun sales on the rise in Victor Valley

Personal protection most popular motivation

VICTORVILLE • At 3:27 p.m. on Black Friday, Candis Monkiewicz bought the 7,993rd gun sold in California that day. On Tuesday, she returned to Victor Valley Shooters to pick up her gun, accompanied by her two preschoolaged sons who passed the time eyeing the candy machines near the register.

Like many customers at Victor Valley Shooters Gunshop in Victorville, Monkiewicz says she bought her gun to protect her family.

“I bought the gun because Obama is back in office and scary things could happen,” Monkiewicz explained. “If things go bad, I want to be able to protect my children and hunt.”

Victor Valley Shooters co-owners Jay Stedt and Lisa Carlson say that gun sales are definitely up, and that they hear countless stories of crime and the need for protection from customers.

“Ninety-nine percent of customers have a story,” Stedt says. “And police officers confirm what you hear from the public.”

Carlson explained that people are worried about possible bans on guns and ammunition during Obama’s second term. While she did not have specific numbers, Carlson has observed a rise in gun sales since just before the election.

While fear of bans and regulations motivates some people, Stedt believes that a desire for self-defense is the biggest reason for increasing gun sales, explaining that high unemployment, released prisoners and cuts to the police force all increase the risk of crime.

Stedt referenced San Bernardino City Attorney James Penman’s comment to “lock your doors and load your guns” as an example of this sentiment.

“It wakes people up and starts them thinking,” Stedt explained. “They want something for self defense.”

At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Hesperia resident Michael Allen was the 26th person in California to buy a gun. Stedt says the total will reach between 3,000 and 4,000 by the end of the day — a sign of increased sales. On Black Friday, there were a total of 9,700 gun sales.

“I am buying a gun to protect my home and protect my wife and kids,” explained Allen. “Just to be on the safe side.”

Even with the increase in sales, government regulations make it difficult for gun shops to stay in business in California, according to Stedt.

“Any ban or restriction cuts our throats more,” Stedt says. “Even though there is a rush on guns, it’s not profitable.”

As people rush to own guns, Stedt and Carlson stress that guns do not automatically provide protection because people need to be trained to use them properly.

“People think guns kill people,” Carlson says. “It’s the person behind them.”

Throughout the day, Carlson and Stedt will step out from behind the counter and give potential buyers hands-on tips about holding and firing guns as well as advice about how to safely introduce children to guns. In addition, Victor Valley Shooters offers beginner handgun classes once a month as well has home defense classes.

According to Stedt, the most important takeaway from these lessons is to be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially when using a gun.

“People are getting paranoid,” Stedt said. “Instead of being paranoid, people need to raise their awareness.”

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