CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - First, it was toilet paper. Now gun shops say guns and ammunition are the hot sellers as people are dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Gun and ammunition sales are on the rise in the tri-county area as coronavirus concerns spread. And many gun shop owners have no plans to shut down.
"Ever since Monday when we opened up, it’s been crazy in here,” ATP Gun Shop and Range owner and President Arlyn Pendergast said.“
Gun store owners are seeing at least a 500% increase in sales throughout last week, and they say they expect the same thing this week.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Limehouse Gun Shop owner Barney Limehouse said. “People are just [in a] mad rush. All the gun shops, many of them are sold out. We’re almost sold out. And like I said, the bullets... I’ve never sold bullets like this in my whole life.”
They believe it’s because people are both panicking, and looking to protect themselves and their families.
"They are good people, nice people,” Limehouse said. “And they are going to protect their selves. And I don't blame them, and I recommend it."
ATP Gun Shop has now put a limit on 2 boxes per person.
"Too many gun people are buying guns,” Pendergast said. “Especially elderly ladies, that are the ones that are not right for them.”
The owner of Limehouse Gun shop says they have sold at least 30,000 rounds in a week.
ATP Gun Shop will now be closed on Mondays to give their employees more time to rest. They are also limiting the number of people they allow inside at once to try to keep both employees and shoppers safe.
Pendergast also added that it’s important for them to stay open because if people can’t get their guns legally, they might seek alternatives.
"If people can’t get it, then they start doing bad things,” Pendergast said. “I don’t want people to do bad things when there are legal things available.”