BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some things are harder to find on shelves these days, like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and ammunition.
Nationwide, more than 3.7 million firearm checks were conducted by the FBI all month, the most in 20 years.. (WJHG/WECP)
"9 mil., 5.56, 12-gauge—the most common calibers are not readily available at all," Jay's Guns and Accessories manager William Tucker said.
Floridians and Americans at large are flocking to gun dealers at a record rate.
"They recognize that we are in uncertain times right now," C&G Sporting Goods salesman Mark Rega added. "The government is uncertain. The entire pandemic is uncertain. A natural reaction is to be in a position where they know they can defend themselves and their family."
Florida Department of Law Enforcement data shows 87,600 background checks from gun buys and transfers between March 12 and March 22, nearly three times last year's total of 30,400.
Nationwide, more than 3.7 million firearm checks were conducted by the FBI all month, the most in 20 years.
"That's just background checks," Black Sheep Armory owner Grant Lambe explained. "One background check could have four guns on it, so the real number could be four times greater."
Lambe estimates 60 percent are first time buyers, all echoing similar concerns.
"One of them is, can you care for yourself if things shut down in a very big way," Rega said. "Secondarily, if things like hospitals or the police should become overwhelmed, people have a desire to care for themselves."
These shops ratchet up social distancing, encouraging good decisions with health and self-defense.
"Keeping people calmed down, we get customers come in that are trying to figure out how much they can buy," Tucker added. "We're redirecting them to, 'how much do you need?'"
These exchanges provide protection for buyer and seller.
"We're mom and pop shops, locally, most of us are," Lambe admitted. "They're all doing well for themselves, but it's not numbers that would allow us to be golden for the rest of the year. When all this is over, gun sales are going to decrease drastically once all these panic buys stop."
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