Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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National and World

December 19, 2012

Armored backpacks and a rush on guns after Conn.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The reaction to the Connecticut school shooting can be seen in gun stores and self-defense retailers across the nation: Anxious parents are fueling sales of armored backpacks for children while firearms enthusiasts are stocking up on assault rifles in anticipation of tighter gun control measures.

A spike in gun sales is common after a mass shooting, but the Connecticut tragedy has generated record sales in many states. Colorado set a single-day record for gun background check requests the day after the Connecticut mass shootings, and some online retailers are removing assault rifles from websites in part because of diminishing supplies.

Nevada saw more requests for background checks in the days after the shooting than any other weekend this year. Some gun shop owners are even holding back on sales, anticipating only more interest and value after President Barack Obama on Wednesday tasked his administration with creating concrete proposals to reduce gun violence.

Robert Akers, a Rapid City, S.D., gun seller specializing in assault-style rifles, said he has about 50 of the weapons in stock but he's not actively trying to sell them and has even turned off his phone.

"It's a madhouse," said Akers, owner of Rapid Fire Firearms. "Any time they have one of these shootings or an election, it gets that way. I don't even want to sell them right now because I won't be able to replace them for probably six months. ... The price is only going to go up higher."

At least three companies that make armored backpacks designed to shield children caught in a shootings also are reporting a large spike in sales and interest.

The body armor inserts fit into the back panel of a child's backpack, and they sell for about $150 to $300, depending on the company.

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