Safety On

Business is booming at M&M Sports Den in Jamestown, as is the case with numerous gun shops throughout Chautauqua County.

As New York lawmakers Tuesday enacted some the nation’s strictest gun-control laws to date, gun and ammunition sales have spiked for the North Main Street shop. Owner Bruce Piatz, however, is anything but overjoyed for the sudden influx of customers.

“We’re busy for all the wrong reasons,” Piatz said Tuesday inside his store while holding a “military-style” weapon.

“I’d rather not be busy than to see all of this happen because of the government,” he said. “More people have been killed with a hammer than this gun I’m holding right now.”

Piatz said customers have been steady inside his business after word spread that New York looked to crack down on assault weapon sales and the number of bullets held in a magazine. The owner said he saw a similar spike in sales in 1994, the last time sweeping gun law legislation was passed.

“You have to blame the government for this,” Piatz said. “They are driving people to buy all these guns. They are the ones who are to blame for all of this.”

By Tuesday afternoon, several customers found their way to the Jamestown gun store – some to talk with Piatz, others to buy a gun and some ammunition. One of those customers was Andrew Carlson of Jamestown, who had hoped to register a gun from Florida.

“I really don’t have anything nice to say about what (the state) is trying to do,” Carlson said. “They shouldn’t be trying to infringe on our right to own a gun.”

Said another customer who did not wish to be identified: “They’re just infringing our Second Amendment rights. I don’t think the government should be getting involved.”

The spike in gun sales has been seen across the county.

“Oh my God yes; we can’t keep up,” said an employee at JJ Guns in Dunkirk when asked of recent gun sales. “We’ve got several people lined up right now.”

The scene was similar in Westfield.

“I’ve pretty much been cleaned out,” said Henry Rohman, owner of Henry Rohman’s Gun Shop LLC. “It’s getting harder to get them than it is to sell them.

“There’s a frenzy buying them right now, and rightly so. People want to buy their guns now because they think they won’t be able to in a little while.”