Ed Nicely, owner of Ed’s Gun Shop in Vass, said his store has seen a tenfold surge in business over the past week.
“We’ve finally slowed down from where we were, but we’re still doing double the normal amount of sales,” he said. “People are buying ammo like crazy.”
Firearms are selling briskly, too. The store normally keeps 3,000 guns in stock. On Thursday, it had about 2,000.
“I’m getting probably 100 guns in a day, but we still can’t get caught back up to where we were,” Nicely said.
He isn’t alone. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a national boom in gun sales, with buyers in some states lining up outside retailers.
“People are afraid,” Nicely said. “You might have food but you don’t have a way to protect it, and people may want to come and take it if (the situation) gets worse.”
He added: “People want to protect themselves and what they have.”
A woman working at U.S. Ammo and Guns in Southern Pines on Wednesday said her store has also seen an uptick in business. She declined to elaborate.
The increased traffic at independent gun shops is perhaps one of the few bright spots in an otherwise upended local economy. Executive orders issued by Gov. Roy Cooper have closed businesses ranging from bars to barbershops.
Nicely said anyone wanting to buy a gun or ammunition should swing by early for faster service.
“We’re slower in the mornings,” he said.