Gun, ammo sales soaring amid coronavirus fears

Posted at 1:56 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 19:32:15-04

NORFOLK, Va. - All across the country - and even here in Hampton Roads - there is a mad rush to get inside gun shops.

"Obviously, with the coronavirus scare, we can't have everyone in the gun department. The other day I looked on our cameras and saw 100 people in the shop, so we instituted a line system," said Steve Dowdy, owner of Bob's Gun Shop in Norfolk.

Dozens of people are lining up outside his store daily.

"I never thought I would be a line monitor. People are waiting some two hours to come inside to buy a gun," he said.

Coronavirus is causing many residents to arm themselves, protecting in case of panic.

"I purchased critical defense ammo 38mm rounds and 9mm rounds," said John Warner. "As an Army veteran, I want to be ready in case things get out of control."

Buyers told News 3 they are scared of food shortages, home invasions, looting and the potential for a shelter in place that could prompt people to act out.

"People are running out of food. There is so many unknowns; I want my family safe," said Miguel Martinez.

"This is a time of unforeseen crisis. As a husband and a father, I need to know my family will be OK, so I am using my rights," said John Fredericks.

Dowdy says changes in policing is also prompting the uptick of buyers.

"When people start hearing police officers being pulled off of duty and they aren't arresting for smaller crimes, it makes people think," said Dowdy.

Dowdy said Bob's was so busy on Sunday they actually chose to close just to give their employees a break.

"The last time we saw something like this was in 2012 after Sandy Hook, and this surge has definitely surpassed that," said Dowdy.

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