In the midst of an outcry over stricter gun control laws, experts in Tampa Bay say gun owners are afraid of losing their ability to purchase guns after big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Dick's Sporting Goods announced changes in their stocking preferences following Friday's shooting in Newtown, Conn.
"The requests I'm getting are that they're scared they'll lose their rights," said Shawn Penwell, general manager of Shooting Sports, 7811 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
While handguns are the store's "dominant seller," Penwell said the AR-15 - a semi-automatic rifle authorities say the shooter used in Newtown - has become more popular with customers after Wal-Mart removed the gun from its online listings this week.
"There's an uptick in AR-15 rifles, because the concern there is, they won't be able to purchase them."
Above all, Penwell said gun owners want to use their weapons without causing anyone harm, and want to be responsible with the equipment.
"They want to be safe with it and learn how to defend themselves," he said. "I won't hand somebody a rifle and say it's a good home defense weapon."
What do you think about the gun control issue? Are you a gun owner? Tell us in the comments.