News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) --The gun debate rages on in Washington, but it's a hot issue at the state level, too.
President Barack Obama has called for reform , and a Senate bill would do just that by expanding the assault weapons ban of the 1990s.
In Atlanta, lawmakers are also talking firearms, but many say they want to expand gun owners' rights. But, as the debate continues, firearms continue to fly off the shelves.
Ray Reynolds, who works at United Loan and Firearms Inc., says they're having a hard time fighting to keep up with the demand.
"The supply is almost non-existent. We spend hours a day shopping online for guns from vendors," he said.
Ray at United Loan and Firearms says business has increased by about 75 percent in the past two months.
We're also told most of the gun makers are on an 18-month backlog, trying to produce enough guns to keep up with the demand.
It's the same story for others in the gun industry.
"Business has totally skyrocketed. It's off the chart," said Frank DeMato, a certified NRA firearms instructor.
DeMato says a record number of people have been signing up for gun classes the past two months.
"Where I used to have 2 to 3 classes a week, now I have 2 to 3 classes a day," he said.
And the people packing heat don't necessarily fit your typical stereotype.
Gladys Suggs, for example, is enjoying the golden years by learning how to shoot a gun.
"I just want to be prepared," she said.
She says the nationwide debate about gun control is one reason she is spending her Tuesday squeezing off a few rounds.
"I've been listening to it, and I just thought well, it's important to know how to protect yourself," she said.
But while Congress debates whether assault rifles should be household objects, lawmakers in Georgia are talking about less gun control. Senate Bills 93 and 101 would allow hunters to use silencers, give people living in public housing the right to have guns, and expanding laws already on the books to allow more out-of-state license holders to carry weapons in Georgia.
"I think a lot of this is, we ought to do something, so let's pass another law that may or may not have any effect," DeMato said.
Suggs says, why not just keep it simple?
"The Second Amendment is clear. You can't interpret it different ways," she said.