SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Gun shop owners in Savannah are seeing ammunition fly off the shelves quicker than toilet paper.
The coronavirus pandemic is triggering a gun sale surge across the country.
The owner of Thunderbolt Guns said this is the first time he has ever seen his wall of semi-automatic rifles almost empty. All of his ammunition is nearly sold out, and the wait-period for background checks via the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has multiplied from three days to thirty.
“We’re probably doing two, three times the amount of business we normally do. Over the last two-three weeks, it’s been insanity in here trying to take care of customers in the store, take care of customers online, and take care of the telephone calls,” said Dick Berman, the Owner of Thunderbolt Guns and Chief Firearms Instructor.
Berman said there are days when his employees do 50 transactions. He believes this uptick is because people are scared and keeping weapons in their homes gives them a sense of security.
Employees said there is no reason to panic, but they are seeing an increase in the number of first-time buyers, many of whom are women.
Monika Bryant told News 3 she purchased her first gun one month ago from Thunderbolt Guns and completed her training on Sunday. She said she didn’t buy the firearm because of the pandemic, but it brings her comfort owning one as a single mom.
“I don’t think I would have purchased a weapon to protect myself in this time, however, you don’t know what will happen and you don’t know how people respond and react under pressure and out of fear; so knowing that I’m safe and that I can properly protect myself is not a bad thing,” said Bryant.
Berman said Thunderbolt Guns employees are helping their customers learn how to handle their purchases safely. They offer defensive training weekly. For more information, click here.