Employees at several gun stores BuzzFeed News contacted said they were too busy to talk. A woman on the phone for RT Smoke N Gun Shop in Mount Vernon, New York, told BuzzFeed News she didn’t have time to give an interview. “With the panic, we are just inundated with people,” she said.
Larry Hyatt, the owner of Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, North Carolina, said he has seen an increase in sales since the outbreak.
“We’re not seeing hunting guns,” he said. “It’s pretty much self-defense. We’re seeing a lot of AR-15–type guns — the ultimate self-defense gun.”
He said a lot of the customers coming in right now are senior citizens. “People who feel vulnerable are buying guns.”
According to Hyatt, the fears over both the coronavirus and a stock market crash because of the outbreak are making customers think twice about what to do during a period of civil unrest. He said there are a lot of unknowns right now.
“This is a 61-year-old store,” he said. “But this is sort of uncharted territory, we don’t know what exactly to expect.”