Valley gun sales soaring amid coronavirus pandemic
PHOENIX — Valley gun store owners are seeing sales spike as coronavirus figures continue to increase in Arizona.
“It has been non-stop all day long,” Dan Todd, owner of AZ Firearms in Avondale, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
“Twenty people in line, or more, every day, all day long.”
He says those waiting in lines are mostly orderly, an opinion shared by Kurt Stancl, operations director at Bear Arms Firearms in Scottsdale.
“There have been a couple people who have said, ‘All I need is ammo!’ at the back of the line. And I said, ‘Well, everybody in front of you does, too,'” Stancl recalled.
Ammunition is in particularly short supply as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens.
“Now we’re at the point where only certain types of ammo can be purchased if you purchase a firearm,” Stancl added.
“It’s rather embarrassing to sell somebody a firearm and then not have any ammunition to provide them.”
Stancl and Todd have previously seen gun sales increase sharply when residents fear they will lose Second Amendment rights — like during the Obama administration and after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
However, the fear many gun buyers are experiencing appears to be different during the coronavirus crisis.
“There are people that believe they need to buy a firearm today,” Todd said. “They just want it for home protection. No one has gone through this before, and they just want to know they can secure their home.
“They’re not going crazy. They’re not buying thousands of rounds of ammo. They’re buying one or two boxes of ammo, and they’re buying a firearm.
Todd added that most of his current customers are first-time gun buyers.
Some of the best selling guns include handguns, shotguns, and AR-15s.
Stancl also believes Arizonans are purchasing guns for self defense — for themselves, and their essentials such as food or water.
Both dealers say they have enough guns and ammo to sell for the next several months. But the supply chain is already poor.
“I have talked to five major wholesalers just today alone,” Stancl said.
“All of them have said that they are no longer taking orders. They took all of their employees that normally do receiving and put them into shipping.”
Stancl added these wholesale dealers are anywhere from 2-7 days behind on shipping orders.
“They’re hearing rumors that the supply chain isn’t expected to catch up until September,” he said.
Stancl and Todd both expect to keep their workers employed for the duration of the crisis, but they’re not hiring at this time.
They also said their customers have been patient and considerate, especially as federal background checks take longer with extra demand across the country.