Could pandemic, civil unrest be pushing a rise in gun demand?

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 11:35 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 5:51 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With the coronavirus pandemic, an election year and civil unrest, gun store owners say there’s a perfect storm for one of the biggest gun and ammunition shortages they’ve seen.

“Normally if you want to go get a Glock-19 as an example, it’s one of the most popular guns out there. I haven’t had them in about three months, can’t get them,” said Buddy Lichty, owner of Shooters Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Augusta.

He says the typical peak gun season is usually from September to November.

But since last fall, the demand has only increased for firearms and ammunition.

“We’re usually sucking wind, if you will, in the summer,” Lichty said. “But this year, it’s as if November has not stopped. It’s been that kind of crazy.”

And it’s not just gun enthusiasts stockpiling. The National Shooting Sports Foundation found in the year of 2020, millions of people became first-time gun owners.

A large percentage of those first-time owners were women, with an especially big increase among black women.

“I’ve never purchased one on my own and I didn’t even really consider it a necessity, I felt safe,” said Rae-lynn Bello, a first-time gun owner.

She recently purchased her first firearm, and her reason: “With tensions, getting a little hotter these days and the leaders around us are communicating more division than unity. It makes us a little nervous, and I’d rather be in the position that I have it, and I never have to use it, rather than needing it and not having it.”

Lichty says if the demand continues to stay high, he doesn’t know if and in what capacity he will be able to stay open past this year.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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