By Nikki Gaskins
LADSON, S.C. (WCIV) — Talk of passing tougher gun control laws has struck a chord with Lowcountry gun buyers. On Saturday, hundreds of people packed the Land of the Sky Gun and Knife show at the Ladson fairgrounds.
While doors didn't officially open to the public until 7 a.m., many people arrived at least 30 minutes early. The lines stretched out the door with very little room to move around.
"We're probably going to be 50 percent above what we normally do down here," said promoter Mike Kent. "Anytime you have any type of gun legislation making its way through Congress, people get nervous. They start to panic, buying all the ammunition and assault rifles."
With more than 300 vendor tables at the event, Kent said ammunition and guns are selling like hot cakes.
"There's a shortage of ammunition right now. There's a shortage of high-capacity magazines, and there's a shortage of assault rifles," said Kent.
The demand for those items outweighs the supply with vendors. The mark-up price for a lot of guns and ammunition has more than doubled.
"Everyone is afraid that (President Barack) Obama is going to take away their guns and ammo, so they're out here to stock pile everything up," said vendor Bryson Trexler.
The gun control push follows a series of mass shootings, including the December attack on Sandy Hook that left 20 children and six adults dead.
"I understand that they're trying to do things to protect our kids, protect the civilians," said gun owner Jesse Scott.
Scott believes the push, however, will do the opposite of what some lawmakers hope for.
"A lot of people are buying things that they don't need," said Scott. "The prices are going up. You can't find it online or in stores. People are still willing to pay the price."
After the deadly shooting in Connecticut, Obama has called for universal background checks, renewal of an assault weapons ban, and restrictions on the size of ammunition magazines. He's also calling for new school safety and mental health programs. It's a proposal that has some gun owners scared.
"The law abiding people out there are seeing their rights and freedoms being threatened," said gun owner Jonny Whiting. "The population is trying to get ammo for themselves. They want to ensure they have what they need before those things are taken away from them."
The gun and knife show will wrap up on Sunday. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you go, plan ahead. Traffic getting to and from the event is expected to be very heavy.