Fifth-generation gun salesman Chip Porter says for the third time in a dozen years, gun sales are up because there is talk of banning gun ownership.
At the Silverado Gun Show Sunday in Frederick, Porter said 12 new customers came to him because they fear that time is running out for citizens to own guns.
"People are panic-buying," he said.
Show operator Frank Krasner and Porter said experienced gun owners and sellers do not panic, but novices do. Porter said it would be impossible for the government to take away all guns, and it won't try.
"They can't," he said.
Mark Altomare was not one of panic-buyers at the show. He came to pick up supplies for his hunting and fishing hobby -- some ammunition and a box to hold it, he said.
Altomare said he understands the public's interest in stopping mass murders like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, but restricting gun ownership to law-abiding people will not help, he said.
"I can't see taking people's rights away," he said.
What would help is for people to report mentally unstable people so they cannot have weapons, Altomare, Porter and Krasner said.
"The lunatics are the ones causing the problem," Porter said.
"All the mass shootings in this country have been done by people with mental problems," Krasner said.
"It's not the firearms, it's the person," Altomare said.
As for nervous novices who come to Porter for a gun, he said he asks them to hold off. He gives them the name of a place they can learn to handle guns safely, and even though it happens to be a place that sells guns, he is willing to risk losing a customer.
He said he would rather not sell than sell one to someone who, for example, asks how to load it.
"I have turned away a lot of people," he said. "You have to have training," and he recommends issuing a card to prove it.
Porter said he carries a firearm so that if someone else starts shooting, he can defend himself and others.
"I can help protect other people," Porter said.
Politicians whose families are protected by armed guards should not write laws to restrict gun ownership, Krasner and Porter said.
"These firearms laws are written by people that really have no idea," Krasner said.
"They don't have to worry about their children," Porter said. ___