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Gun sales rise in Virginia, good business for Pittsylvania County store

State police say the increase can't only be contributed to recent gun law repeal.

August 10, 2012|Justin Ward | WDBJ7 Reporter

PITTSYLVANIA Co., Va. — If you've recently bought a hand gun, you're not alone.

According to the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center gun sales are up compared to last year.

If it can be locked and loaded Chestnut Firearms in Pittsylvania County has it in stock.

For the last four years the company based in Joe Castagna's basement has had steady business.

"When we first opened it was very active because everyone wants to come to see what you have," Castagna said.

Recently sales have gone up again. Not only are assault rifles flying off the shelves, hand guns sales have also increased.

It's a trend the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center, a State Police program, has monitored in the last two months.

According to the center, 22 percent more background checks were requested for gun sales in June than that time last year.

In July stores request nearly 30 percent more checks than a year ago.

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They believe the jump could be due to repeal of a Virginia law earlier last month requiring stores to sell no more than one handgun per buyer per month.

"The changing of the law, when you're allowed to do multiple purchases has increased sales. It definitely has," Castagna said.

But state police say they have no way of knowing if the repeal has any relation to gun sales. They say current events influence buying habits.

Recent mass shootings, gun shows, and politics all factor in to sales.

"With the shootings we've had around the country, I don't know if people are in a panic. They think they'rer maybe going to take the guns, take the ammo, there's more sales," Castagna said.

Although sales have jumped at the majority of gun stores in the commonwealth Riverside Pawn in Danville has seen only a slight increase.

Managers there aren't changing their policy.

"We haven't changed our policy at all we're not taking in any more guns then we were. We're not like letting them buy more than one handgun a month. We're doing exactly the same as before the law changed. Just because it's our own company policy," said manager Jimmy Cole.

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