Gun Sales Up in Binghamton and U.S.

The city that's home to today's tragic shooting has seen gun sales soar in '09.

ByABC News
April 3, 2009, 5:56 PM

April 3, 2009— -- In Binghamton, N.Y., and across the country, firearms sales have been among the few bright spots within the recession-battered economy.

But the shooting that took the lives of 14 people -- including the gunman himself -- at a Binghamton civic center today is adding fresh fuel to the fiery debate between those calling for more gun regulations and those who argue that today's gun laws are tough enough.

Watch a special edition of "20/20" on guns in America anchored by Diane Sawyer Friday, April 10, at 10 p.m. ET

According to a study from the University of Evansville in Indiana, at least 16 mass murders -- the deaths of at least five people in a single incident -- were committed in the United States since last year.

"We had 10 dead in Alabama, eight dead in North Carolina, 10 dead in California, including two police officers, 12 dead, reportedly today, in Binghamton and our political leaders say we should just enforce the laws on the books," Peter Hamm, a spokesman The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said Friday afternoon. "The laws on the books are not working."

Meanwhile, gun owners and merchants, including those in the Binghamton area, maintain that existing U.S. and state laws are tough enough.

"Every time there's an incident involving a shooting of any kind, automatically the cry goes out that we need tougher gun laws and more gun laws," said Chuck Sherwood, the owner of Timbercreek Sportsmanshop in the town of Maine, N.Y., about 14 miles from Binghamton. "All we need to do is enforce what we have now."

Notwithstanding today's tragedy, gun sellers like Sherwood are among the few business owners in the country experiencing boom times. Sherwood said his sales are up 40 percent over this time last year.

Overall, pistol permits have soared in New York's Broome County, which is home to Binghamton. The county sheriff's office has already issued 107 permits in the first three months of the year. Last year, the office issued 237 for the entire year.

"We're going to blow the 2008 number out of the water," sheriff's deputy Brian Curtis said.