Thursday night's tragedy in Colorado – where a gunman opened fire on moviegoers at a midnight screening of the new Batman film, leaving 12 dead and dozens wounded – has many people looking for answers.
And a good chunk of them are eyeing the firearms industry.
At 6:20 a.m. Friday, long after Aurora authorities began investigating the bloodshed, the @NRA_Rifleman Twitter account operated by the National Rifle Assn. posted a tweet that many since criticized as insensitive.
The tweet, which read "Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?" was soon removed.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims their families and the Aurora community," the gun group said in a later statement. "We will not be making any further statements until all the facts are known."
National gun sale statistics are difficult to discern. In California, recorded gun sales from dealers have been rising since 2007, reaching 601,246 last year – the highest level since sales hit 642,197 in 1993, according to transactions processed by the state's Justice Department.
"It's a tragic event that happened," said Bill Cates, manager of Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply in Fort Collins, Colo. "It's gut-wrenching to gun owners who try to do things legally. But unfortunately, a lot of people are going to think that, due to guns, that's why this crime was committed."
The rampage has already led to spike in interest in gun ownership, Cates said. The store is twice as busy as it normally is. New customers included two young women whose husbands had long tried to convince them to carry firearms – unsuccessfully until now.