Gun and Ammunition Sales Go Through the Roof as Coronavirus Spreads


Sales of guns, ammunition and other self-defense and survival gear have skyrocketed nationwide as the country deals with uncertainty surrounding the spread of the coronavirus.

Gun retailers from Los Angeles to upstate New York and just about everywhere in between are reporting surges in sales of firearms and ammunition.

The Los Angeles Times reported that lines formed outside of the Martin B. Retting gun shop in Culver City, in western Los Angeles County, over the weekend.

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“Politicians and anti-gun people have been telling us for the longest time that we don’t need guns,” a customer told the Times. “But right now, a lot of people are truly scared, and they can make that decision themselves.”

A gun store proprietor in Arcadia, California, also in the Los Angeles area, told the Times he has seen an uptick in Americans purchasing firearms, which has led to his suppliers having difficulty keeping up with all the demand.

“It’s not only California, it’s the whole nation that’s cleaned out. It’s like toilet paper,” Arcadia Firearm and Safety owner David Liu said.

David Stone of Dong’s Guns, Ammo and Reloading in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told the Times he has been scrambling to keep up with demand.

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“When I say sales have been booming,” he said, “it’s an understatement.”

The National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman publication reported one website that sells ammunition has seen an increase in sales since cases of the coronavirus outbreak were reported in the U.S. in February.

Online retailer Widener’s Reloading and Shooting Supply reported a 99.7 percent increase in overall web traffic from Feb. 23 to 25 as well as a doubling of sales.

“It’s clear our customers want to be prepared in a worst-case scenario,” Jacob Long of Widener’s told American Rifleman. “For a lot of our families, a disaster plan includes having ammo on hand.”

Widener’s said orders from Michigan are up by 566 percent, while orders from Connecticut have increased by 390 percent.

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Other states with notable increases in sales were Florida (383 percent), Kentucky (304 percent) and New Jersey (241 percent).

Long said the increased sales of survival gear and guns were not specific to any one product, noting, “We are seeing an increase in sales across the board. It’s not product-specific, it’s industry-specific.”

He said sales of Remington .223 and 5.56 NATO have increased by 2,036 percent in recent weeks.

WAGA-TV reported gun stores in suburban Atlanta are also having a difficult time keeping up with demand, as citizens are lining up to purchase not only firearms and ammunition but also N-95 masks and meals-ready-to-eat.

Jay Wallace, the owner of Outdoor Adventures in Smyrna, Georgia, told WAGA he first noticed an influx in clientele several weeks ago but sales have increased dramatically just in the last few days.

WAGA reported similar situations at other gun stores in the Atlanta area.

David Steinberg, who manages the sporting goods department at the discount retailer Ra-Lin in Syracuse, New York, told sales of guns, ammunition and survival gear are way up across upstate New York.

“It’s been a strange week, with the coronavirus and the stock market. There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind what people are buying,” he said.

Don Lankford, who owns a gun store in Opelika, Alabama, told The Birmingham News, “After the Pulse Night club shooting, there was a huge rush to buy, but this exceeds that one.”

Retailers in Alabama and elsewhere are working overtime to keep up with demand from customers uncertain about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Birmingham News reported many residents were not “seeking bottled water, medicine, hand sanitizer and toilet paper,” but were in search of “guns, ammunition, body armor and other self-protection essentials.”

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, tweeted about the phenomenon Saturday.

“The irony of it all is that it’s my Democrat friends reaching out to me now asking me which guns they should buy just in case… in particular which ARs. I guess they’re ok with the 2A now??” he said.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.