Before the doors to Gunnies even opened on Saturday in Orem, Utah, hundreds of people had queued up in a line that stretched around the building. For hours they waited in the January cold for the chance to get a box or two of ammunition or to purchase a firearm amidst what one salesman called a “perfect storm for gun supply.”
One Gunnies employee couldn’t get the ammo on shelves fast enough.
“This case has 1,000 rounds,” said the worker. “I have gone through 10 boxes already in two hours.”
Because the store has seen hoarding in the past, there was a limit placed on what a customer could buy.
“On this .223-5.56 that we got in that everybody’s here for today, we’re allowing 200 rounds per customer,” said [salesman Chris] Hansen.
In scenes reminiscent of last March, when the first stay-at-home orders and closings of businesses declared “non-essential” sent gun sales soaring, gun stores around the country are reporting overwhelming demand from customers. In Topeka, Kansas, the owner of The Gun Garage says that Saturday was his busiest day in the store’s history.
The store has seen an increase in gun sales since October of 2019, however it has never been this dramatic, according to Owner Floyd McMillin.
“Usually it ain’t here more than two to three days, it doesn’t matter what it is,” McMillin said. “When it comes to firearms or ammunition… it’s in, it’s out, that fast.”
Normally The Gun Garage has enough ammo, however, they have started to run out over the last few weeks, McMillin said. Fortunately, the store receives shipments every day.
The uptick in sales is from everyone, McMillin said, from new and experienced gun owners both young and old.
Gene Smith, the co-owner of Hoover Tactical Firearms in Birmingham, Alabama, reports that this past weekend saw a doubling in sales compared to what they’ve seen over the past year, with many of his customers coming in to buy their very first gun.
“People are reacting to their fears and concerns,” Smith said. “People are getting out and buying. Some of them have never owned a gun in their life and now they seem almost anxious to have one in their home, just in case.”
Smith said he thought it would be a busy weekend after seeing riots at the U.S. Capitol building on television.
“People are worried,” he said. “They are not only worried about the government, but they are also worried about crime in their community.”
There’s no shortage of things to be worried about in this country at the moment; from the increased crime seen in many cities, the prospect of more COVID-related shutdowns, and the growing concern over increased political violence and fears of a heavy-handed response by the incoming Biden administration aimed at limiting the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.
Several of the gun store owners quoted above told their local media outlets that they don’t anticipate a slowdown anytime soon, and I suspect that they’re right. Until Americans are feeling more secure in their own economic, political, and personal spheres (and God knows when that will be), we should expect the Great Run on Guns to continue.