Tension, gun sales up in Ferguson as Michael Brown grand jury decision nears


Ferguson and the rest of the country are awaiting the grand jury decision on whether police officer Darren Wilson will be prosecuted for the killing of Michael Brown. Tension in the Missouri city is at its peak.

While the grand jury is given until January 2015 to issue its decision on the case, the office of the prosecutor said that a ruling may come in the middle of November.

Brown, 18, who was a member of the African-American community, was shot to death in early August by Wilson despite Brown's being unarmed. Wilson, 28, is Caucasian. The racial difference is seen as a factor for the escalating tension in the community.

As an aftermath of the conflict, gun sales have spiked in the city. According to John Stephenson, manager of the Metro Shooting Range in the nearby city of Bridgeton, gun sales have increased 40 to 50 percent since last week.

In addition, Steven King, owner of Metro Shooting Supplies, revealed that customers have bought 100 guns over the past weekend alone; a typical weekend would see only 30 customers. The higher gun sales spanned across all races in the city.

"People are afraid they are going to throw Molotov cocktails," King said to CNN.

King is referring to the protests, most of which are non-violent, taking place in the city since Brown's death.

James Knowles, mayor of Ferguson, has been informed by many residents that they will be buying firearms. Knowles has also warned authorities of the increase in the number of gun owners in the city.

While fear continues to grip the city and its residents, some protesters are saying that the anxiety is unfounded.

Bassem Masri, one of the protesters, said that the demonstrations should not be called violent. They are simply loud, Masri said, adding that he wants the police to be trained well enough to take the verbal abuse.

Protests have been ongoing for months, leaving the community in shambles.

"The destruction here symbolizes this community, and how fragile and crumbled things are here," 42-year-old resident Michael Johnson told CBS News.

Despite the potential for violence that has caused gun sales to skyrocket, Johnson believes that Ferguson will not explode if the police officer is not indicted.

"I don't think it's going to be as bad as people want to make it out to be, but I think there's some tough times ahead," Johnson added.

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