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Local gun stores busy as gun-control discussions grow louder

David Schrank Waukegan holds an Armalite AR15 semi-automatic competitive rifle this sold Schrank's Smoke 'N Gun located 2010 WashingtStreet Waukegan.

David Schrank of Waukegan holds an Armalite AR15 semi-automatic competitive rifle that is sold at Schrank's Smoke 'N Gun located at 2010 Washington Street in Waukegan. Schrank said "I have used the AR15 competitively at the state and national levels. It is used in training at the junior level who go on to compete at the collegiate level. It is also used for the U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Army Reserve rifle teams." Schrank is a former coach of the Waukegan High School air rifle team. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 20, 2013 6:23AM

Gun sales are spiking at one local gun shop, while another is seeing its phone ring off the hook.

“We were busier,” Dave Shrank, owner of Schrank’s Smoke ’n Gun in Waukegan said Tuesday, noting that sales were up about 25 percent. “I think you’ll see that uptick but it will settle down relatively in the near future.”

Gun sales were up across the board, he said, including Bolt Action, hunting rifles, pistols, revolvers and rifles.

Schrank said there’s no hiding why there’s a bump in sales. He said law-abiding gun owners are scared of further gun control laws on a national level in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead. And locally, residents are afraid of further restrictions on purchasing firearms in the future. So, they’re stocking up, he says.

“Locally in the Illinois area, we have definitely seen a little bit of an uptick in handgun sales,” Schrank said. “People are maybe spending a little bit of their Christmas money on concealed carry-type handguns.”

Schrank’s family has owned the store for 48 years. And he said he’s used to increased sales in response to potential political change.

He says he’s seen an “uptick” in gun sales “anytime you have a politician who has a track record of being anti-Second Amendment...or wants to make things more restrictive on legal firearm owners.”

He said the store experienced increased sales after President Obama was elected in 2008, and again in November after he was re-elected.

At the Mega Sports, Inc. in Plainfield callers at one point were alerted, via recorded message, that the store is experiencing a “high call volume” — the reason sales people weren’t immdiately picking up.

Greg Tropino, owner of Gat Guns in East Dundee would not comment on his store’s sales. Instead, he questioned the state’s intentions regarding gun-control and how the state deals with the mentally ill.

“Since Governor Quinn has been governor, there were 11 mental health facilities, and he’s closed four of them down,” Tropino said. “Does that help? Or does it help to want to put more restrictions on guns?”

Local gun store owners say their customers are law-abiding citizens and there are enough restrictions in place.

“When you look at some of the tragedies that have been happening, those have been with firearms that were stolen ... I think that firearm laws that are in place are restrictive enough and every firearm transaction that is sold through a federal firearms dealer has to be approved by the federal government,” Shrank said. “...But I think what we need to do as a society is become less tolerant of the violence which occurs from the criminals utilizing firearms.”

Quinn on Monday announced support for banning assault-style weapons, and promised to promote the issue once again when the Legislature reconvenes in January. He voiced support hours after Mayor Emanuel called to renew an assault weapons ban.

The local support came the same day New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a campaign featuring survivors and family members of gun violence, to demand elected officials in Washington D.C. take immediate action to reduce gun violence in America.

One video features Annette Nance-Holt, mother of 16-year-old Blair Holt, who was killed by gang crossfire in 2007 on a CTA bus. The shooter got the gun from a friend moments before the shooting. Neither was old enough to legally possess he gun.

“You try to protect your child and keep him safe but there is no way to keep your child safe when there are illegal guns out here,” Holt said in a video for the “I Demand A Plan” campaign. “...My son should not be in a cemetery.”

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