Stores from Colorado to San Diego, and Cincinnati to Connecticut have reported a surge in gun sales as gun-control legislation looms on the horizon. The surge has come mostly from .223 ammunition, AR-15s, and the type of high-capacity magazines covered under the expired federal assault weapons ban which Congress will consider renewing in 2013.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous how many people are buying guns,” said Tim McFarland, an employee at K-5 Arms Exchange, less than 25 miles from Newtown, in a Dec. 20 story in The Daily Beast Dec. 20. “Customers have been packing the store since the weekend. It’s just astronomical. We sold out of assault rifles yesterday.” The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says it set a new record for single-day background check submittals this past weekend. Background checks that normally take minutes turned into wait times of more than 12 hours, CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina told the Denver Post.

In San Diego, Northwest Armory gun store owner Karl Durkheimer said background checks that normally took 15 minutes in California took more than four hours. Saturday “was the biggest day we’ve seen in 20 years. Sunday will probably eclipse that,” he said.

In southwest Ohio, from dawn to dusk a Cincinnati gun show had a line of 400 waiting to get in, said Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “Sales were through the roof on Saturday,” said Eaton. “People were buying everything they could out of fear the president would try to ban certain guns and high-capacity magazines.”

In Massachusetts, several area gun shops have reported increased business. Ted Oven, owner of Northeast Trading Co. in North Attleborough, said some buyers were picking up four or five boxes of ammunition instead of their usual one.

“They are taking hints from the president that something big is on the horizon,” said Jim Wallace of the Massachusetts-based Gun Owners’ Action League.

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