Floridians are heading to gun shops in droves this year to buy firearms and ammunition.
In the first three months of 2013, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received 300,000 requests for background checks for potential gun owners, according to a report by the Sun Sentinel.
South Florida shop owners are saying the rise in gun sales is due to the recent debate on gun control, an issue that has gained national attention after the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 20 first-graders, school leaders and the shooter's mother dead.
"People are buying anything and everything that resembles a gun and a bullet right now," Michael Caruso, owner of Delray Shooting Center in Delray Beach, told the Sun Sentinel. "It doesn't look like it's losing any momentum at all because inventories have been depleted."
Despite the push for stronger gun control, Florida's House Judiciary Committee voted last week saying that the state will not enforce a ban on assault weapons or ammunition. The House is expected to vote on the issue this week.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, chairman of the judiciary committee, expressed concern at limiting citizens' Second Amendment rights and said lawmakers needed to be careful with the language used when wording such legislation.
"Most people who own firearms do so to stop bad things from happening," Baxley told the Sun Sentinel. "They would defend themselves if needed. They're not out to assault someone."