Firearm sales on the rise as legislators discuss gun laws

By WEEK Producer

December 17, 2012 Updated Dec 18, 2012 at 10:39 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- National and state lawmakers are debating how to keep Americans safe while still protecting their constitutional rights. At the same time, gun sales and FOID card applications are on the rise.

Last week, the U.S. Court of appeals gave Illinois 180 days to enact a law allowing concealed carry. As state lawmakers craft a bill, the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook will likely be at the forefront of their thoughts.

"This tragedy, devastation has got to be something we consider, but protecting the public's interest and public's safety is something we have to consider each and everyday as we move forward," said State Senator Bill Brady (R).

Still, Senator Brady insists moving forward with concealed carry is what is best for Illinoisans.

"I know that we can craft a law that requires proper education, training and safeguards," said Brady.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D) agrees and thinks changes may be necessary on the federal level.

"We must institute reasonable, common-sense limits, such as baring those with a history of mental instability, those with a history of violent crimes or are judged dangerous and subject to restraining orders. There are certain classes of weapons that are strictly military. They have no useful purpose in sport, hunting or self-defense. They should not be legally sold in America," said Senator Durbin.

Locally, Presley's Outdoor Owner Tim Presley said his staff can hardly keep up with FOID card applications and gun sales. He said its three parts: the Christmas holiday, the recent shooting, and concealed carry soon set to become law in Illinois.

"Especially in the AR area or the pistols, there's been a dramatic increase in them," said Presley.

He adds the state is so backed up on FOID cards it is taking between 90 to 120 days to process them. By state law, it should only take 30 days.

But that's not stopping Michelle Jewell. She said now, more than ever, she wants to be able to protect herself and her family.

"With the way the world is getting crazy, I want to take the next step and take some lessons on shooting a gun and be prepared for whatever may come," she said.

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