"There are certain segments of society that probably feel we're headed for a big depression and it will be every man for himself and you're going to have to scavenge for your own goods in a time of social breakdown, one of these kind of post-apocalyptic dystopias that many movies have been made about," Shapiro said.
Another factor motivating gun buyers, Shapiro and others say, is concern that the Obama administration will eventually establish tougher regulations on gun purchases.
It's about the "ability to have it before it gets overregulated," said Emil Masata, a member of the board of directors of the Binghamton Gun Club. "The gun laws are so prohibitive now for the most part, it's a joke."
As for concerns about any changes that Obama would implement to federal gun laws, the fact is that most gun regulations are made at the local level, Shapiro said.
He said he doesn't think today's incident, at least, will lead to tighter regulations.
"Whenever there is a story of a big shooting, it hits the media cycle for a while. Maybe some legislators will start proposing things but unless there is a pattern that develops, I don't know," he said. "There are a lot of gun laws on the books already."