SALT LAKE CITY — 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 shooting, and some 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, expecting only more interest and value after President 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 is not actively trying to sell them.
At least three companies that make armored backpacks designed to shield children caught in a shootings also are reporting a spike in sales .
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.
The armor is designed to stop bullets from handguns, not assault rifles like the one used by the Connecticut shooter. The manufacturers and some parents say that while they do not guarantee children will not be killed, they could still be used as shields.
Elmar Uy, vice president of operations at Bullet Blocker, a Massachusetts-based company that has sold the backpack armor since 2007, says sales have tripled since last week.
At Amendment II in Salt Lake City, sales of children’s backpacks and armored inserts are up 300 percent.