By Poppy Harlow, CNN
Many residents of Newtown, Conn. are practicing their rights to bear arms. Less than a year after the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun sales are rocketing upwards.
Nancy Elis is a grandmother who's about to become a first-time gun owner.
Elis says the new gun laws passed in Connecticut, among the toughest in the country, are a big reason why she's buying her first firearm.
"Our rights are being slowly infringed upon and that this whole idea of controlling guns has come to my backdoor. In other words, there may be a time when I may never be able to get a firearm," she said.
She has lived in Newtown for 28 years. Her desire to own a gun is part of a spike in the state.
Newtown, vividly remembered for one of the worst gun massacres in U.S. history, is on track this year to double the amount of pistol permits it issued last year.
"I'm concerned that it can get out of hand. Nancy Lanza had quite an arsenal, I understand, in her home. You only have two hands. How many guns can you fire at once?" said David Ackert, founder of Newtown Action Alliance.
Ackert and Monte Frank are pushing to curb gun violence.
"There's a perception that the government's going to come and grab all their guns, or is not going to allow them to purchase certain guns," said Frank.
Newtown resident Ryan Delp owns multiple guns, but did not want to show them on camera out of respect for the Newtown victims.
Reporter: "You went out and you bought another gun after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Why?"
"That was 100 percent driven by the legislation that I was anticipating being passed. It's my responsibility to take care of and protect my family," said Delp.
It's hard for Gilles Rousseau to understand as he grieves the loss of his daughter, Lauren, killed at Sandy Hook.
"It hurts in a different way. I had my first dream, with my daughter was in the dream, just about a week ago. And I said, 'Lauren is dead, how can she be there? She's dead.' She didn't know she was dead. I didn't want to shock her," said Rousseau.
Reporter: "What do you think when you see these numbers?"
"It's sad. It's really sad. There's no other words to say it. It makes me sad to think that people, they feel they're protecting themselves but they're just adding to the problem," said Rousseau.
There was also a surge in gun sales in Colorado following the Aurora movie theater massacre. And after the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, background checks for gun purchases in Arizona spiked.
While Nancy Elis grieves for the victims of the tragedy in her own backyard, for her, this is about protecting her rights.
"Did the guns cause the tragedy? No. It is the person behind the gun that caused the tragedy," said Elis.
Twenty-eight people, including the gunman, died in the sandy hook massacre. Prior to that incident, there had only been one homicide in the decade that preceded it.