demand for the weapons used by the Boston Marathon suspects to far outpace even those records.
NRA member Timothy Campbell of Dallas, Texas, says he has called Boston and MIT police departments over a dozen times since the murder of an MIT police officer last Thursday, but neither department has been willing to release the exact brands and models of guns used. While many cite fears that guns like the ones used in acts of terrorism or mass murder will be targeted for stricter regulation or even banning by the government, Campbell, an avid gun collector, says he recognizes that the odds that access to such weapons would be restricted are "essentially zero," he still is eager to purchase the guns as soon as the Tsarnaev weapons are identified. "I don't really know why I want to own them so bad," he said during an interview conducted this morning. "I guess it's probably a penis thing."
An executive with a prominent gun manufacturer said that having one of a company's guns used in an incident of mass murder or terrorism can represent a substantial boon to profits. The executive, who wished his identity and the name of his company to remain anonymous, noted that "the more vicious the crime, the bigger the surge in resulting sales is. When one of our guns was used in the murders at Sandy Hook, our dealers couldn't keep them on the shelves afterwards. We had to add another shift, we were selling so many."
A Boston-area Glock dealer who also wished to remain anonymous agreed. "Having one of our guns used in the shooting of an actual congressperson was probably the best advertisement we ever had. The sales were phenomenal afterwards." He says that while the company urged him to tell prospective buyers that the gun could likely face stricter regulation in the wake of the shooting, "It was nonsense, but I found I didn't even have to. Sure, everybody says those things, but the truth is people just want to own a gun that they know has become infamous. It makes them feel dangerous themselves, and that's what we're in the business of selling."
According to the gun executive, "It's one thing to say that your rifle can quickly kill a whole room full of elementary school children. Any company can say that. But to have it demonstrated and proven true, that's a completely different thing. That's when gun owners know they've got a gun they can count on. You might never need to kill that many kids before the cops come, sure, but that guy proved you could do it if you wanted to."
"We had groups in every state buying that exact gun to offer as contest prizes, for raffles and things like that. This is shaping up to be the best sales year we've ever had, and by a lot."
Read more about the expected surge in gun sales below the fold.
He also notes that gun enthusiasts often demand strict attention to detail when purchasing brands made famous by American mass murderers. "The same magazine, the same accessories—it's got to be precise. So there can be numerous companies that all see a sales windfall, if the killer was really loaded for bear."
Both individuals agree that the delay in releasing pictures and other details about the guns by the Boston suspects is an intentional effort by the government to diminish gun owner's rights. LaPierre says that if the information isn't forthcoming, he'll ask lawmakers to pass legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to release the information within the first 30 minutes of it becoming known—and requiring police departments to carry brochures and other promotional materials for guns used in recent murders to be passed out to gun collectors that seek the information.
"There's no reason for this garbage," he says. "This is a high-profile case, and our members deserve to know immediately. We should be putting sales information for those weapons in every police car, and they should be distributed to any citizen that asks. Every cop in Boston should be able to tell a citizen who asks not only what kind of gun was used by the terrorists, but where you can buy one, what it costs, and what it might feel like to be shot by one."
He also says this latest incident shows yet another reason why background checks are an infringement of gun owners' rights. "There are a lot of Americans who, due to convictions for violent crimes, aren't able to obtain the kind of weapons they used to—especially the kinds of things used by your Adam Lanzas or your terrorist types. Right now the only way felons can obtain guns like that are through gun shows or via private sellers, and it would be outrageous to shut that last easy avenue down. These are among the nation's most avid gun enthusiasts we're talking about."
No matter when the information about the Boston weapons are released, all parties agree that it will be followed by a surge in gun sales not seen since the mass murder of Connecticut schoolchildren last December. The Glock dealer says he wouldn't be surprised if sales demand for the Boston shootout guns were "double or even triple" the size of surges that followed other recent mass murders.
"Having your gun used to kill a cop is pretty much a monthly thing these days, so it's not really a powerful selling tool anymore," says the Glock dealer. "But actual terrorism? God, a gun company couldn't get any luckier. People are going to make so much money."
But the best thing, says gun collector Campbell, are the new stories behind each gun in his collection. "That's why I collect them, because they all have such history behind them, whether it's from Aurora, or Tucson, or Sandy Hook or this latest thing. There's so many stories these weapons tell."
"It almost makes you wish these things happened more often."