Calif gun purchases surge after San Bernardino shooting

Gun sales in California spiked in the days after the deadly Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, in spite of having some of the strictest gun laws in the country – with as many as 6,000 guns being sold a day in the days after two jihadists massacred 14 people.

Figures provided by the California Department of Justice to show that in the four days after the massacre, there were 20,664 sales, compared to only 12,649 from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2.

In November, with the exception of a typical surge around Thanksgiving, there were few days that saw more than 3,000 sales a day, and no days that saw 4,000+ sales. However, after the shooting, there were 6,108 sales on Dec. 4, 6,558 on Dec. 5, 4,500 on Dec. 7 and 5,763 on Dec. 8.

The California Attorney General’s office told that the numbers do reflect gun sales, although roughly 1-2 percent of all sales are later denied for reasons such as criminal histories.

While the AG’s office noted that they frequently see an increase in sales at the end of November and throughout December, the numbers are still significantly higher than in December 2014, which saw 16,443 sales in the same time period.

The increase in sales is part of a wider trend across the nation, with gun groups and store owners saying that gun sales surge after mass shootings, both out of a desire for self-protection from shooters, and fears of politicians infringing on their Second Amendment Rights.

Numbers from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which can be used as an indicator of sales, and show that there were significant spikes in background checks after the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, the July 2012 movie theatre shooting in Aurora Colorado, and the November 2009 Fort Hood massacre. There have been 19.8 million checks through November this year, and 2015 is on pace to break the record.

The White House has said it is looking at how President Obama could use executive orders to reduce gun violence, and Obama himself has called for legislatures to do more to tackle the issue.

“Americans know that President Obama’s foreign policy has made us less safe and they are taking personal responsibility for protecting themselves and their families,” Jennifer Baker, director of NRA Public Affairs, told

“It is unfortunate that the President continues to exploit a terrorist attack on US soil to push a gun-control agenda that will only make it harder for law-aiding citizens to exercise their constitutional right to self-protection and do nothing to stop criminals or terrorists," Baker said.

Toni Wellen, chair and founder of the Coalition against Gun Violence in Santa Barbara, California, told that stocking up on guns won’t make households safer.

“If more guns made this country safe we would not be having over 30,000 gun deaths a year, and most of those gun deaths are not mass shootings that people are responding to, but most gun deaths occur within homes and among families,” Wellen said.

Wellen also rejected the idea that Americans Second Amendment rights were at risk.

“I think that it is a method that the NRA uses because they want to push gun sales,” she said. “The concept that is being sold is that you’d better get your gun or they’re coming to take your gun away. Gun violence prevention is about gun violence prevention, not about gun control. No-ones taking away people’s guns.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the recent national spike in gun sales Thursday, and while he wouldn’t speculate as to why Americans across the country were buying more guns, he called the surge in sales “tragically ironic.”

“There are a variety of reasons why people might do that. I guess I’m just pointing out that there are already an astonishing number of guns on the streets of America, and far too many innocent Americans who are being killed by them,” Earnest said. “So the idea that our reaction to innocent Americans being killed by guns is to dump 185,000 more guns onto the streets of America is tragically ironic.”