"The incident last week highlights the need to protect our children," said co-owner Derek Williams. "We didn't get in this business to do this. But the fact is that our armor can help children just as it can help soldiers."
Kerry Clark, president of Texas-based Backpackshield.com, began making the backpacks after the deadly mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. Clark said he sold 15 backpacks Wednesday. Prior to Friday's shooting, he said, the company would sometimes go an entire month with one sale.
Bullet Blocker, a Massachusetts-based company that sells the backpack armor, declined to provide sales numbers but noted that recent figures were substantially higher.
Sales of assault weapons also were on the rise.
Austin Cook, general manager of Hoover Tactical Firearms in suburban Birmingham, Ala., said the spike in sales since Friday's shootings has been so intense that federal background checks that typically take five minutes or less are now taking up to an hour.
Cook said about 50 people were waiting in line for his store to open the morning after the shootings, and that he's since sold nearly all of his assault weapons.
"I can't keep them in the store," Cook said.
In Pittsburgh, Dick's Sporting Goods said it was suspending sales of modern rifles nationwide because of the shooting. The company also said it's removing all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown.
Aaron Byrd, co-owner of Patriot Shooting Sports in Youngsville, N.C., is sold out of AR-15 rifles, ammo for those types of guns and high-capacity magazines.
"Things have been crazy the past couple of days ... They're worried that the government's going to ban semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines," he said. "I think it is a knee-jerk reaction by both parties — both the government and the citizens."
Skoloff reported from Phoenix. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed and Mitch Weiss in North Carolina; Scott Sonner in Nevada; Steven K. Paulson in Colorado; Dirk Lammers in South Dakota; Pam Ramsey in West Virginia; Matt Gouras in Montana; and Jay Reeves in Alabama.
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