Gun Violence and Gun Sales Rise Nationally

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Monday's shooting at an Oregon high school is the 74th school shooting in the 77 weeks since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut back in December, meaning almost every week since then, there has been a school shooting.

President Obama spoke Tuesday at a question and answer session for the social media website, Tumblr about the recent shooting and the rise in gun violence. He said the nation needs to do "some soul searching" and "should be ashamed" of the deadly gun violence epidemic.

"A lot of people will say there's a mental health problem, it's not a gun problem," he said. "The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only country that has psychosis."

He also criticized Congress for not approving a proposal that would expand background checks for gun buyers.

Along with the increase in gun violence is the boost in gun sales. A large number of people in Wisconsin, in particular, are firearm supporters. One local gun retailer said with increasing incidents like the Oregon shooting, along with the state's conceal carry law allowing citizens to carry guns, sales are going up, especially handgun sales.

"Concealed hand guns, small handguns in particular, are very popular because you can hide them," said Frederick Prehn, owner of Central Wisconsin Firearms in Wausau.

Wisconsin's conceal carry law went into affect in November, 2011. It allows citizens to purchase and carry guns on their person as long as they are hidden. Prehn said that's one reason for the up tick.

"The law has had a huge impact in Wisconsin," he said. "It has definitely made a lot of people take interest in firearms, become trained in firearms and buy their first gun."

With mass shootings that come with little or no warning, many have been purchasing in self defense.

"Life is one of the things that we value and when it comes to defending one's self or one's loved ones, sometimes, those measures are necessary," said Prehn. "I think a lot of people believe that when they don't have firearms, they can't do that."

Lawmakers, however, say the violence can't be ignored.

"I don't want to see uneccessary burdens for people who are doing the right thing, who are being safe with their guns and using them appropriately, but we have come to a point where there is clearly a large public safety issue," said State Representative for the 85th Assembly District, Mandy Wright.

Both her and Prehn said right now, more restrictions are not the answer.

"If you want to kill somebody and you can't get your hands on a gun, you'll use something else," said Prehn.

"I really feel that universal background checks is the place to begin," said Wright. "Once we can start tracking data more accurately, then we can see if it really is a prevailence of mental illness that's causing this or if there are other issues."

Both agree the main issue is the mandatory background checks. Right now, firearm dealers are the only ones required to do them before they sell and dealers can also refuse to sell to anyone for any reason. However, guns bought and sold in unlicensed transfers and gun shows are not required to look at a buyers history and they said that's a major loophole for lawfully obtaining a firearm.


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