Buyers rush amidst talk of assault rifle ban

PASADENA, Md. - Five handguns in the first 90 minutes of business.

The manager of Pasadena Pawn & Gun, Bill Loane, says applicants are coming out of the woodwork since the mass shooting in Connecticut .

"I definitely feel terrible for all the families... the loss of all the people's families and I'm a Christian man.  I don't believe in killing other people, but if you're going to defend yourself---that's another thing, but just to go into a school and open fire on a bunch of kids, I think that is definitely wrong," said Loane.

But he adds it also would be wrong to shut down sales of assault weapons like the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"This is a 30-round magazine.  It does not go with the gun.  I'm not allowed to sell it in the State of Maryland," said Loane as he displayed one of the rifles for us.

Bill's father, Frank Loane, owns the shop and says right now you couldn't get one of those assault rifles if you wanted to.

"Bushmaster went under a new name, Wynham.  Yesterday they sold out completely... the factory.  I know because I had something ordered and they called and apologized."

Maryland has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country , even requiring people to sign mental health waivers, but those charged with conducting the background checks can only go so far.

"What that does not allow our investigators to do is to access private mental health records," said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police, "So if an individual was treated in a private mental health facility, we still do not have under law access to those records."

While talk of renewing the federal assault rifle ban may ultimately take many of them off the market, it has apparently created a rush to buy them, and sellers say there's a sane enough reason for it---self-protection.

"Everybody's scared.  They talk about banning stuff and all that kind of stuff.  People are just scared."

Firearm applications have jumped from just over 5,000 in October to more than 8,000 expected this month.

Maryland State Police say a task force appointed by Governor Martin O'Malley over the summer is currently looking at Maryland's gun control laws and their relation to mental health issues.

Its findings are due by the end of this month.

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