As worry and panic begins to soar amongst Americans about the coronavirus pandemic spreading, gun sales across the country are also starting to soar.
While people have hoarded toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other items, people have also purchased ammunition at an unprecedented rate according to the website Ammo.com, which sells ammunition online throughout the country.
On Feb. 23, the company’s sales began to increase as the search term “coronavirus” gained traction online. Over the past month, Ammo.com saw a 777 percent increase in revenue, a 516 percent increase in transactions and a 350 percent increase in site traffic. The top five states in the country who have purchased increased amounts of ammunition were Texas, Florida, Illinois, Georgia and Colorado.
“We know certain things impact ammo sales, mostly political events or economic instability when people feel their rights may end up infringed, but this is our first experience with a virus leading to such a boost in sales,” Alex Horsman, the marketing manager at Ammo.com, said. “But it makes sense. A lot of our customers like to be prepared. And for many of them, it’s not just face masks and TheraFlu. It’s knowing that no matter what happens, they can keep themselves and their families safe.”
One Nassau County gun shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they have seen a five percent increase in sales since the coronavirus outbreak.
“People are fearful that the economy getting even worse will result in break-ins and theft, so they’ll need self-defense,” the shop owner said.
Additionally, the shop owner said the sudden increase in sales is difficult for sellers because the in-demand increase is hard to keep up with. When sellers run out, more people try to buy online, which means that there are a lot of emails and phone calls to keep up with. When it comes to the important background check, buying and selling ammunition and guns online is more difficult because the checks are supposed to be done at brick and mortar stores. Gun shops have been running out of products and have been closing, which adds to more panic.
“Everyone—shops and their customers—are set on doing things legally and safely such as meeting all legal requirements, getting the right type of guns for self-defense and their needs,” the owner said.
—Additional reporting by Katie Fenton