EL PASO – This border city appears to be growing more gun-friendly as the number of gun dealers has increased by 29 percent in the past three years, according to a Borderzine analysis. The city now has 80 gun dealers compared to 62 in 2013, the analysis of ATF data showed.These figures include large retailers such as Walmart as well as private dealers, but exclude pawnbrokers who sell firearms.
“We have had peaks and valleys,” said Louis Southard, general manager at Sportsman’s Elite, a gun store and shooting range in El Paso, which has been open since January 2013. “In 2008, a little over five years ago, there was a rather large uptake in gun sales.” Tragic events can often drive an increase in gun sales, such as when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children as well as six members of the school’s staff were fatally shot by a troubled gunman who killed himself after the attack.