As gun sales rise, gun-related deaths are down statewide, up in Kern County

Some new ammunition is out for gun rights advocates. New statistics show gun sales are up in California in the last decade while gun related injuries are down, statewide. But in Kern County it's a different story.

Some new ammunition is out for gun rights advocates. New statistics show gun sales are up in California in the last decade while gun related injuries are down, statewide. But in Kern County it's a different story.

Kern County gun sales are up but so is its firearm related injuries and deaths but not by much and officials say there may be other contributing factors.

According to the California Department of Justice, in 2002 350,000 guns were sold in California. In 2011 600,000 were sold.

"It's been a continual rise since I started," said Keith Foster, General Manager at Second Amendment Sports in Bakersfield. He's worked at Second Amendment for more than a decade.

In that same time period, according to the California Department of Public Health, gun related injuries statewide were down from 4,000 to 2,800. Gun deaths dropped from 3,200 to 2,800.

"I think that sounds about right. Criminals don't like to get shot at. They go after easy prey," said Foster.

But here in Kern County, gun sales are up but so are firearm deaths and injuries but only slightly. Officials said that difference could be due to the start of prison realignment and demographics.

But local activist Whitney Weddell says the discrepancy is the reason why you can't depend on statistics alone.

"The truth is they don't really show us anything," said Weddell. "What we do know is that there have been a rash of gun related atrocities lately and it does seem like something ought to be done about that."

"I always have believed that an armed citizen is a well-protected citizen," said Steve Smith of Bakersfield.

Smith hopes California's statistics end the recent talks of stricter gun laws.

"I've always believed that anytime you have someone that's armed they're better able to protect themselves so it's going to drive crime down," said Smith.

"Do I think everybody needs machine guns? No. Nobody needs machine guns. They're meant for one thing killing people," said Shaun Neal of Lake Isabella.

But Shaun Neal does think people have the right to own a gun.

"It's not the weapons," said Neal.

He said it's the people that kill and the numbers prove it.

"An armed society is a polite society, right?" said Foster.

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