HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - While grocery stores are running out of paper products and sanitizers during this coronavirus pandemic, gun stores are facing their own supply issues.
“We’ve seen a couple of key calibers that disappeared really quickly,” said David Floyd, the co-owner of The Gun Store in Conway. “I’ve joked that it disappeared as fast as toilet paper.”
On an ordinary day, you probably wouldn’t hear Floyd comparing guns and ammunition to toilet paper, but with the coronavirus, he’s seen ammunition of popular calibers like 9mm and .22 come into high demand.
“Sometimes legislative actions, or talk of, cause it,” said Floyd. “Sometimes there’s incidents that happen that get a lot of press coverage that cause runs in the market on certain calibers of ammo or certain types of firearms.”
Floyd said he started stocking up about two months ago when he noticed the impact the virus had had in China, and he knew that could impact his supply line long-term. He mentioned even some American-made models are having production issues because parts that go into those guns are made in China.
He isn’t alone, Freedom Supply Gun Shop owner, Lee Wells, said he’s been in the same boat.
"Started talking to my distributors and all of the 556 and 223, the AR-15, the most popular rifle, they disappeared overnight,” said Wells.
So, supply’s an issue, but Floyd also mentioned why he thinks there’s been an increase in demand.
"I believe a lot of what I’ve talked to people about is they know that if there’s something they want and they don’t want to wait awhile to get it, it’s going to be hard to get certain calibers of ammo for the next few months,” said Floyd.
Floyd said some people have been stocking up in case there is any “civil unrest” because of the virus. A sentiment that was echoed by Wells.
“Talking to people, they’re worried that if we get shut down, people are losing their jobs, getting desperate, people are going to start going around house to house robbing, stealing, breaking and entering,” said Wells.
Floyd is confident the inventory will fill back in before there is a shortage of guns.
"Just a matter of time, it’s going to trickle in, we may not have as much as you want to buy, but we’ll always try to get people something that they need,” said Floyd.