Coronavirus panic buying leads to rise in gun and ammunition sales

Posted at 9:41 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 23:11:09-04

Gun stores across the country are seeing an increase in sales due to fears of possible social unrest because of the coronavirus.

It’s the reason why Justin Mudgett visited Maryland Elite Firearms in Carroll County Wednesday.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s been talks of shutdowns, lockdowns, statewide nationwide. And you just don’t know what’s going to happen. So, call it fear. It is what it is,” he said.

Dan Hartman, the owner of the Carroll County gun store, says business is booming unlike anything he’s seen since Maryland passed the Firearms Safety Act, which banned some assault-style weapons seven years ago.

Hartman says the increase in sales is directly related to the virus.

“It picked up big time last week,” he said. “I think in times of kind of panic like this people are worried. They want to be able to defend themselves in times like this.”

He says not only did the store sell out of shotguns, but they’re running low on some ammunition too.

“You’re happy to see business up, but you’re not so happy to see why,” Hartman said.

Paul Brockman, who is the spokesperson for Patriot Picket, which is a gun rights advocacy group in Maryland, says he recently visited a gun store in Jessup, MD.

Brockman says the lines were out of the door, as people waited to get inside to buy a gun and ammo. He says it was because of the virus as well.

He says that’s what’s been happening at gun stores across the state and country, which in some cases have led to a rise in prices.

“A very good friend of mine sells ammo. Three weeks ago you can get a case of 9mm for 180 bucks now it’s 250-300 if you can find it.”

Hartman says most of the people buying guns at his store are first time buyers. His advice to them: safety first.

“Take time to learn it. Learn how it works and be familiar with it,” he said.

For Mudgett, he doesn’t believe he’s going overboard. He says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“If you can’t leave your house. You can’t react to anything. You have to be proactively prepared,” he said.