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IL – RETAILERS – Gun dealers report increased store traffic, ‘panic buying’

Toilet paper and hand sanitizer are in short supply at Illinois supermarkets. At gun shops, firearms and ammunition are flying off the shelves, too. As the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, spreads through the state and the country, Illinois firearms retailers say sales of guns and ammunition have substantially increased over the past two weeks and especially in recent days.

“It’s a lot of a panic situation,” said Jim Feagans, who owns J. Gooch Shooting Sports in Springfield. “Firearms and ammunition are going crazy.” Feagans said his shop started getting busy Monday, on the eve of Illinois restaurants and bars closing to dine-in customers and schools shutting their doors to students. “I think … all of a sudden people realized, ‘Hey, this is serious,’” he said. “Everybody’s talking long term now. So now I think people are starting to get a little bit more panicky.” Panic buying was also apparent at other Springfield gun stores, employees told Capitol News Illinois, including a a pawn shop, chain retailer and a military surplus store. “People are panicking,” an employee at the surplus store said. Gun shops across the U.S. and in every corner of Illinois have seen firearm and ammunition sales increase, says Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. He said most purchases have been related to home protection. “They’re worried about civil unrest,” Pearson said.  [full article]

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