Residents in and around San Bernardino, California appear to be turning to guns to protect themselves in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attack on the city.
The attack has pushed people who have never owned a gun to make their first purchase, and concealed carry applications have risen at an astronomical rate, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"I've never owned a gun before," 23-year-old Matt Nicholson told a salesman at Gun Boss Armory in neighboring Redlands, California on Monday, the paper reported. Nicholson told the Times that he was motivated to buy because the terrorist attack occurred mere miles from where he lived.
"It was a little too close to home," Nicholson said. He was not the only one.
"This is basically home protection," Doug Crossman, of nearby Mentone, told the paper while shopping at the gun store. "I'd rather be sitting on the phone with the cops with a gun in my hand than on the phone praying nobody's going to shoot."
Crossman said his wife worked only a mile from where the attack occurred.
Concealed carry permit applications are also up in the wake of the killings. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Cervantes told the Times that 75 permit applications had been submitted over the weekend. That represents a sevenfold increase over the normal rate.
Terry McGuire, owner of the nearby Get Loaded gun store, said his business was up 25 percent in the last week and many of the people he interacted with were driven by a desire to protect themselves.
"Sandy Hook was more, ‘I need to get a gun because they're going to take them,’" McGuire told the paper. "Now people are scared."
Concealed carry instructor Liz Robinson echoed McGuire's assessment.
"They're not coming in saying the government is going to take our guns," Robinson said. "The feeling I'm getting is they don't want to be caught without a way to protect themselves."