Warner Robins gun shop owners say recently their customers have expressed concern over their safety.
Mayor Randy Toms made an emotional plea to citizens of his city on Tuesday to look into gun ownership after the third homicide this month.
“I would encourage more citizens to make the effort to receive a carry permit and take any available safety classes on carrying and using weapons,” Mayor Toms said in that Tuesday press conference at the Law Enforcement Center.
It appears that plea from Mayor Randy Toms had an impact on business at pawn shops across Warner Robins.
At Centerville Gun & Pawn, owner Patrick Young says their business doubled Tuesday.
“They were just coming in saying they were concerned for their safety, that they had never purchased a firearm, but they were either considering purchasing one and they were beginning the process of shopping around for one or they were here to make a purchase,” Young said.
Young says they sold 12 guns Tuesday, which is double their average. He said it slowed a little Wednesday, but was still more active than usual.
Down Watson Boulevard at Chuck's, they also saw an increase in business.
Manager Clayton Williams says customers were telling them they had seen the Mayor's comments and were searching for particular guns.
“Yes we have, you know selling a lot more handguns, especially like smaller handguns for personal defense and stuff to women and men. A lot of women yesterday,” Williams said on Wednesday.
He says their business went up 30 percent and they were telling a lot of customers how to assemble, load and unload the firearms.
Williams says he thinks it's a good thing.
“That's really what we need, more civilians that you know want to carry and you know practice their second amendment rights,” Williams said.
He declined to comment on the number of guns they sold the last two days, but said new business was up 10 percent.
Every pawn shop WMAZ spoke to emphasized the importance of responsible gun ownership and recommended people take safety classes and understand what type of gun they're buying.
EZ Jewelry and Pawn, which is also on Watson, said they've had a lot of customers ask how to purchase a gun in the state of Georgia. One employee said 4-5 people had specifically mentioned recent events while asking on Wednesday.
The number of firearm carry permits are also rising in Houston County.
Houston County Probate Court Judge Janice Spires gave WMAZ a timeline of new permit purchases over the last few weeks:
First and second homicide occurred on 1/13/18
Third homicide occurred on 1/21/18
“To the best of my recollection. 49 new permits are the most we’ve done in a while,” Judge Spires said over the phone.
She said the numbers showed a “considerable increase” in the number of permits purchased recently in the County.
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