PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Across the country, citizens are anxiously awaiting the results of the Presidential Election. Many fear the results will not turn out in their favor. In Bay County, gun stores are reporting more customers amid the election as some are concerned with the potential future of gun legislation.
Gun stores in Panama City and Lynn Haven say 2020 has been like no other. Many businesses report record sales locally as they’ve experienced multiple surges in recent months.
They say first people came in to buy up supplies when the pandemic began, then people reacted to the civil unrest across the country, and now customers are taking in this extremely divided presidential election.
In Florida, 1,562,269 firearm background checks have been completed in 2020 so far according to the FBI’s website. Almost 175,000 were completed in October alone.
“Gun sales have been up a while now and with the election like it is, it’s probably gonna increase,” said Ronnie Groom, the owner of C & G Sporting Goods.
Gun stores say they’ve seen a ton of first-time buyers as well as repeat customers, all looking to stock up on guns and ammunition.
“In the past, 2012 was a benchmark here in the company but 2020 has surpassed that by far,” said William Tucker with Jay’s Guns & Accessories.
Shop owners say customers are voicing concern as they await the final election results.
“People are just very concerned, they don’t trust the government now and I think it’s just a very bad time in the United States,” said Groom.
Jay’s Guns reports seeing a steady rise in people looking to get their concealed carry permit.
“We went from doing a class a month or so and it usually being halfway to all the way full, to doing classes every few weeks and every single class is full,” said Tucker.
With gun owners flocking to the stores, maintaining inventory is also an issue.
“The problem is getting them, they’re hard to come by…guns and ammunition,” said Groom.
As for the United States of America as a whole, the annual total for firearm background checks so far is 17.2 million according to the Firearm Industry Trade Association. That breaks the last record set in 2016 which was also an election year.