Amid the disruption to businesses virtually everywhere due to COVID-19, local gun stores say that business has skyrocketed for them over the last month.
According to Dawsonville Gun and Pawn Owner Paul Mincey, his business has had its inventory cut in half since the quarantine period started.
“It’s the fear of civil unrest…the lack of products,” Mincey said. “People are just protecting themselves. Like I tell people, a firearm is the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy. A one-time premium payment lasts a lifetime.”
Appalachian Armory owner Lynda Hudson said her store always sees an increase in profit whenever there is a ‘crisis.’
However, both owners said that the industry wasn’t prepared to see this kind of increase in sales.
“We didn’t gear up for this at all,” Mincey said. “The supply chain is now sort of broken. Even though [Dawsonville Gun and Pawn] were up the last few years, the gun industry was down twenty percent. It’ll probably be several months before it’s back to normal.”
Both businesses have been able to implement social distancing techniques while keeping their doors open. Dawsonville Gun and Pawn are only allowing four non-staff members in the store at a time, with hand sanitizer available at every gun case. Appalachian Armory will allow five non-staff members at a time.
Hudson said she thinks business will probably start to decline soon, due to unemployment rates rising leading to a loss of income.
Mincey said they will be closing the doors to his store to try and stop people from coming in and potentially spreading the disease. Starting Monday, April 13, Dawsonville Gun and Pawn will be closed for at least two weeks.
Mincey says too many people outside of Dawsonville have been coming in and browsing at his store, causing uncertainty of health for his employees.
“I appreciate the first-time gun owners seeing us online or social media and wanting to buy with us here, but more and more of them could be carrying the virus,” Mincey said. “No amount of money is worth one of us getting very sick.”
Appalachian Armory will continue to keep their doors open until further notice.