Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week, gunshop owners across America are reporting massive spikes in firearm sales, with the purchasers being Americans from both sides of the aisle, TMZ reports.
A local Vermont NBC affiliate, Click Orlando, and WBRC-6 in Alabama all report the same findings in their cities, noting that the prominent buying surge from 2020 doesn’t seem to be stopping this new year.
After the Capitol rampage, TMZ reporters reached out to 20 gun shops in various U.S. cities to get more information about firearm and ammunition sales, as well as to try and understand the clientele and their reasons for purchasing.
They found that not only are half the stores reporting a “substantial increase in sales of firearms and ammunition since pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol Building on January 6,” — but that it’s been a “pretty even mix” of Republicans and Democrats, both with their own unique reasons for wanting to be armed.
TMZ cites Paulie’s Pistols near New Orleans, which saw a sale increase up 400 percent in the seven days following the events at the Capital. While they always have a steady influx of Republicans, the shop said they saw a surprising number of Democrats who were purchasing guns for the first time.
In a similar fashion, the Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte North Carolina told TMZ that they’re completely sold out of both ammunition and rifles following the buying surge of both Republicans and Democrats “coming in and stocking up.”
Hyatt workers illuminated some of the motivations for purchasing, as Democrats expressed concern after the Capital Riots, while Republicans indicated that they were worried President-elect Joe Biden would take away their guns following the events.
Overall, of the 10 stores TMZ found reported “substantial increases” in firearm purchasing, most are reporting a 20 percent increase in sales with hundreds of calls inquiring about inventory, while other stores are more swamped with sales increasing from 200 to 400 percent in the last week. These stores report that they’re sold out of ammunition and that people are mostly purchasing handguns, AR’s, and rifles.
These anecdotal reports are corroborated by local news, as reporters in Vermont highlighted Michael Fontaine, the owner of M&R Guns and Ammo in Highgate, who said his shop has seen tremendous foot traffic from first-time gun owners traveling all across the state to try and buy guns and ammunition.
Fontaine tells local NBC reporters that his biggest challenge is meeting the demand for ammunition, as he says customers “pretty much liquidate our ammunition on a daily basis.”
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling told the NBC affiliate that the uptick may be caused by Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration.
“That’s not uncommon with a change of administration in Washington that’s a typical uptick that happens,” Schirling said. “It’s how they’re used — less the fact that they were sold.“
In Florida, Click Orlando’s investigation found a ‘run on guns’ as requests for firearm background checks skyrocketed 71 percent in the first 10 days of 2021 — a surge gun store owners say they haven’t seen in 30 years, not even after the Sandy Hook Massacre.
John Lassiter, 30-year-owner of Addison’s Gun Shop in Kissimmee told Click Orlando that the reason for the spike is simple: “They are scared to death. They are scared to death in their own homes,” he said.
In Birmingham, Alabama, Co-owner of Hoover Tactical Firearm, Gene Smith, told WBRC-6 his store has been crowded with customers since the day after riots at the U.S. Capitol. He indicated that they’re making over $100,000 a day, where a typical day is anywhere from $15,000-$20,000.
“People are becoming very untrusting of everything and everybody,” Smith explained.
TMZ concluded their investigation by saying, “Considering there are major fears of increased violence in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration, it’s no surprise that once again … people are sticking to their guns.”
This summary was prepared by TCR staff writer Andrea Cipriano.