Long lines, rising sales and crowded stores have been a scene at gun shops throughout Maine since Thursday morning, when stores opened for the first time since mass shootings in Lewiston on Wednesday night resulted in 18 deaths.
Tony Lewis, the owner of T and K Tactical in Augusta, said he did more business Thursday “than I did all of last month.” While other factors, such as the opening of the regular firearm season for deer hunting Saturday, could be contributing to the surge, Lewis said the biggest reason has been related to safety.
“People are scared,” he said. “Law enforcement’s pretty focused on finding this person, so if (civilians) call for assistance, they’re probably not going to get it right away. So they want to make sure they can protect themselves.”
Other stores saw the same rush, which has been reminiscent of a run on ammo that took place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. A worker at Howell’s Gun Shop in Gray said “we’ve seen more business (recently).”
At 3 Cousins Firearms in Lewiston, less than a mile and a half from Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant where one of the two shootings took place, customers were lining up to buy guns early Friday morning.
“It’s a madhouse,” said Trevor Brooks, a worker at the store.
— Drew Bonifant in Gun stores in Maine see brisk business in wake of Lewiston shootings