How This Surge Is Different

Previous surges — such as what the industry experienced after the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Dec. 2012 and the run-up to the 2016 presidential election — were fueled by concerns of law-abiding gun owners for political action against firearms and firearms ownership. A different motivation is behind this one.

“I don’t even know where to begin; it’s gone bananas,” said Jacquelyn Clark, owner of Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center in Lakewood, Colo. “There are lots of new gun owners as a result of this pandemic. Moving forward, it will be all about how we as an industry bring these new folks in to the fold and keep them engaged via education over the next few months.”

“In the past, we would see a rush of gun buyers over fears of the Second Amendment being infringed upon or taken away. What we’re seeing now is the overwhelming desire for these first-time buyers to own a firearm for personal defense to protect their families,” Phillips noted.

Rex McClanahan, president of Buds Gunshop — with a robust online presence as well as a storefront in Lexington, Ky. — likewise reported an unparalleled spike in sales.

“We’re seeing unprecedented sales of both firearms and ammunition — exceeding any of the political or high-profile, media-driven event surges in the past,” he said.

The impact has been so sudden, one Denver-based retailer was left speechless when asked how it’s affecting his business: “I honestly don’t really know what to say on this one,” he replied.