On what would normally be a slow summer weekday, the three employees at Gretna Gun Works Inc. frantically tended to a crush of customers admiring the racks of shotguns and rifles lined up behind the glass counter.
Among the patrons: a jewelry store owner from eastern New Orleans with plans to stand guard through Gustav; two uniformed Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office deputies inquiring about additional firearms; and an avid hunter who was in to pick up a 12-gauge he dropped off for cleaning.
"It's hurricane season, you definitely want it back now, right?" employee John DeRosier said with a grin as he handed the Beretta shotgun back to the owner.
In yet another sign of hardened sensibilities in post-Katrina New Orleans, managers of gun shops and sporting goods stores across the area report a spike in gun and ammunition sales this week.
And from the Outdoor Life blog:
We just got a call from Devline Rossell, a charter captain based out of Venice, Louisiana. He was shopping in New Orleans to get some supplies before the arrival of Gustav (currently listed as a tropical storm that has left at least 22 dead in the Caribbean) and reported that the item most in demand was not food, clothing or shelter.“I just left a sporting goods store and you would think that the number-one selling item would be plywood or potable water or gasoline right now,” he said. “Apparently it is AR-15s and .223 ammo. I watched at least 20 people buy AR-15s and cases of .223.”Can’t say I’m surprised. After the nightmare that was Katrina I think it would be unwise for anyone to assume the state, local or federal government could guarantee his or her personal safety during a natural disaster. Of course, I think it is foolish to assume that under any circumstance.
While I'm obviously all for being well armed and well stocked for emergencies, buying any gun, particularly an auto-loader (rifle or handgun) and depending on it without first firing and verifying that the gun functions reliably with the magazines and ammo you have selected is not wise. In addition, rifles need to be sighted in and zeroed for proper use.