Guns and ammo are flying off the proverbial shelves at two of the lake's more popular gun shops as residents fear for their safety and fear that their gun rights will be taken away by the government.

Guns and ammo are flying off the proverbial shelves at two of the lake's more popular gun shops as residents fear for their safety and fear that their gun rights will be taken away by the government.

Jim Reis, co-owner of Pistol's Plus with his wife Pam, said Thursday that sales in the last few weeks have been "phenomenal."

"We're breaking records almost every day," he said. "It's been pretty overwhelming."

It's unfortunate that incidents like Sandy Hook and Columbine propel gun sales, but people coming to his shop say they are afraid of what the future holds. Salesmen often ask customers why they're buying a gun or ammo. About half want to protect themselves and do not want to find themselves defenseless; the other half doesn't want the government to say they can't buy guns anymore.

"We've had a lot of first-time buyers, and a lot of people in their 80s who went through the Depression and are more afraid of the government than ever before," he said.

Pistol's Plus has been in business for 18 years and is a major source for guns and ammo in the state. Reis said he is getting orders from all over the country.

"Everything is selling. ARs (assault rifles) went off the shelf first, but we're still getting them in because we have a good rapport with manufacturers," he said. "We've been able to replenish our supply. Never in our history have our shelves been half empty. In the past, when we sold something we could replace it quickly. Now, it takes several months."

The most difficult handgun to find is the 9 mm, and ammunition for all guns is difficult to find as well. Pam Reis' association with gun and ammo manufactures over the last 18 years has helped Pistol's Plus keep an adequate supply in stock.

The store is also seeing a lot of conceal and carry class requests. "We're booked for a month," Jim said.

The scene at Jack's Sporting Goods in Camdenton is much the same. Paul Ivey, gun buyer, said Jack's sales in 2012 were double that of 2011. All eight of his ARs in stock sold out quickly in the last few weeks, and handguns are outselling rifles by three or four times.

And as with Pistol's Plus, ammunition is also hard to find. The military has first rights on ammunition, and the military recently had a larger order, Ivey explained.

Small caliber handguns and conceal and carry weapons are still available, he said, although he does have some in stock.

"It was a fairly good year all around on handguns," Ivey said, "but anytime after a shooting like in Sandy Hook and Colorado sales go up. And the election does well for gun sales as well. It doesn't take long for people to get into a frenzy."

Conceal and carry permits

For Camden County, 2012 was a brisk year for conceal and carry permits. By the end of December, the sheriff's department had issued a total 396 permits to residents — a record — with 48 of those being transfers from other jurisdictions. The majority of permit requests in Camden County continue to be made by men but a growing number of women are seeking permits to carry a concealed weapon.

Although Morgan County statistics were not complete for the year, the sheriff's department did report seeing a spike in recent requests that began in mid-December and has continued into the New Year. In December, not counting the last several weeks of 2012, the county had issued 181 permits for residents to carry concealed weapons.

Miller County statistics were not available.

About Conceal and Carry permits:

Q How do I get my concealed carry permit?

A Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and meet the eligibility requirements as outline in the Missouri Conceal and Carry law and complete training requirements.

Applicants can apply by presenting their firearms safety training certificate, a positive picture I.D., proof of current address, complete set of fingerprints and a non-refundable fee.

Applicants who are not a Natural Born Citizen of the United States or its territories will need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. The following items are accepted as such proof.

* Previously issued, current, undamaged U.S. Passport

* Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state

* Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth

* Naturalization Certificate

* Certificate of Citizenship

Q Where can I get the training certificate needed for concealed carry?

A There are a number of private vendors who are offering training in the area. They can be located by advertisement in the media or contact with the shooting organizations in the area. The Camden County Sheriff's Office also offers a CCW course - call (573) 346-2243 ex. 273 for further information.

Q Where can I apply for my permit?

A Applicants from Camden County must first call Carrie at (573) 346-2243 ex. 273 to schedule an appointment in order to begin the application and fingerprint process after you have obtained your certificate of qualification from a licensed Missouri certified instructor.