NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) – A controversial gun sale caused a traffic jam on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington well before 9 a.m. as people stood in line outside Hoffman’s Gun Shop hoping to get their hands on a semi-automatic rifle value bundle. Hoffman’s Gun Center & Indoor Shooting Range was selling only 100 of the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport value packs, and that had people lined up in droves. The gun itself has been the target of a lot of controversy, and many lawmakers are looking to ban it and other semi-automatic rifles. But it’s what came in addition to the rifle that has people talking. Both the ammunition and the magazine have come under fire this week. According to an advertisement, Hoffman’s was selling the value pack – which included the Smith & Wesson model M&P15 Sport, 10-round semi-automatic rifle, two 20-round boxes of .223 ammunition and a MagPul 30-shot magazine – for $839. Newington police were called to direct traffic as gun buyers hurried to get their hands on the deal, one that has people on both sides of the gun control debate talking.
“We heard about the special,” said gun buyer Jeff Smith. “They got 100 assault rifles in, and they’re impossible to get.”
Adam Lanza, 20, used a similar weapon when he shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last month and killed 20 children and six adults before taking his own life. Every item in the value sale is coming under fire from the government. This week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal called for mandatory background checks when purchasing ammunition.
“They can be done in 30 seconds,” Blumenthal said. “The vast majority are, and they would prevent people who should not have ammunition or firearms from actually buying it.” That’s in addition to his support of a national assault rifle ban and restrictions on high-capacity magazines. The fear that these items may soon be illegal had some buyers in a frenzy to stock up on as many weapons, magazines and ammunition as possible.
“I do have a fear that there will be a new assault weapons ban,” said Konstantine Wells.
Wells and Smith traveled all the way from Greenwich in hopes of taking advantage of the value sale, but were both turned away.
“We woke up at 7:30 a.m., drove all the way down from the southernmost point in Connecticut and didn’t make it. There were already 300 people here,” Wells said.