Gun stores seeing spike in sales amid coronavirus pandemic

Across the country, as coronavirus fears increase, it seems to be having a ripple effect. Gun store owners report sales spiking.

Posted: Mar 20, 2020 4:37 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2020 4:40 PM

CHICO, Calif. – Across the country, as coronavirus fears increase, it seems to be having a ripple effect. Gun store owners report sales spiking.

Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough went to find out what the governor’s recent stay-at-home order means for local gun stores and impact on sales.

Business is almost as usual for local Chico gun shop, Down Range. However, if you're coming for target practice, you won't find that, it's closed and counted as a non-essential business.

But for those looking to purchase a gun, transactions are still taking place. You still have a 10 day waiting period - and right now, owners say inventory is moving fast - especially ammunition.

"Right now is what we're being told is about 120-150 days out for manufactures of ammunition for how many people bought," Owner of Down Range, Will Clark said.

Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, he called for non-essential businesses to close.

"This is a moment we need to make tough decision," Newsom said.

So how is a gun store - essential?

Store owners say they can stay open in this stay-at-home order, because they supply uniforms and gear to law enforcement and first responders, like Chico police, Butte County Sheriff's Department, Cal Fire and more.

"We deal with public safety, we have contracts with different agencies and we need to provide them with uniforms, gear, equipment, ammunition, firearms," Clark said.

The gun range, archery, and other training are closed for now.

Action News Now spoke with one customer, Timothy Carroll, and he says neither the coronavirus pandemic nor the stay-at-home order makes him uneasy. But what does is a sense of "panic" hitting many others.

"That’s what we're seeing here with ammunition down, there's not much on the shelves, there's usually a lot more rifles on the wall right now but because people are panicking and buying things," Carroll said.

The FBI's national instant criminal background check system saw a 73% rise in background checks in February 2020 -- when compared to February 2019. The ammunition website, Ammo, said it saw a 222% increase in transactions over a three-week period.

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