Jacob Rascon, James Wulff
The first big gun show in Southern California since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings is scheduled for this weekend in Ontario. With the recent talk of more gun control across the country, many people are flocking to buy more guns before those weapons could be banned. Jacob Rascon reports from Ontario for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2013.
This weekend, Ontario hosts the first gun show in Southern California since 27 people, mostly children, were killed by Newtown, Conn., gunman Adam Lanza.
The slayings put a spotlight on gun owners, gun sales -- and gun control. Participants at the "Crossroads of the West" gun show said they mourned the dead but did not want to see it impact what they said were their rights.
"We definitely feel sorry for those kinds of things that happen," gun show manager Tracy Olcott said.
The gun control debate ignited by the massacre in Connecticut has lots of people worried at the Ontario gun show, which is being held at the Ontario Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday.
"People get nervous about what's going to happen," Olcott said. "Right now there's a lot of talk in Washington about gun control, so we'll see a lot more people trying to make sure they have what they want, before any kind of new laws come into affect."
Vendors and buyers fear new laws will target semi-automatic weapons. As a result, those guns are selling out, vendors said.
Retired LAPD officer, Chris Kaufman helps run what is usually the largest ammunition stand at the show. He thinks sales at this stand this weekend are going to break records.
Vendors such as Ron Mantel remember a spike in sales back in 2008.
"When Obama first got voted in 2008, you couldn't get ammunition for almost two years," Mantel said. "Now that this shooting happened, and that Obama is pushing, gun sales have gone crazy in like the last two months, three months. Ammunition, again, you can't get it. You can go to the Walmart, you can go to the stores, there's no ammo on the shelves anymore. It's just nuts."
The demand for firearms and ammo is so high, according to Olcott, some of her regulars couldn't make it to the Ontario event because they didn't have any product to sell.
"They've sold out of everything they've got," Olcott said. "They just can't restock at this point, and there's nothing left for them to buy."
Data NBC4 obtained from the California Department of Justice shows gun sales in the state are 126 percent higher last year than they were 10 years ago.
Sales in the Inland Empire jumped more than 300 percent in the same time.