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MD – RETAILERS – Coronavirus fears in Baltimore, region spur ‘panic buying’ of guns and ammunition

In this time of coronavirus and lockdowns, it seems nobody in Maryland wants to get caught short on toilet paper, pasta, soup or hand sanitizer. Add ammunition and firearms to that list, at least for a growing number of people across Baltimore and the region. Panic buying and frenzies are becoming common, gun rights advocates and shop owners say, adding that the trend is expected during uncertain times. Owners and employees say they have been inundated with phone calls and requests for what is becoming a scarce commodity. Many shops posted notes on their social media pages announcing they are too busy to answer phone calls. Some who did answer offered the same message: they were too busy to talk. Baltimore and the state are not alone in this trend, said Mark Pennak, president of Maryland Shall Issue, a gun rights group. “It’s going on nationwide,” Pennak said. “People are buying. It’s what you would expect in times of uncertainty. If people feel uncertain, they feel the need to protect themselves, and people, of course, are prone to load up on stuff that they think they might need.” Anyone searching for rolls of toilet paper or bottles of hand sanitizer can certainly relate, he said. “Ammunition’s really no different,” Pennak said. “It’s just a commodity that people think they might have to use. “It’s a reaction to the fears created by this coronavirus and the fears of a breakdown in civil society.” Buyers include those who haven’t previously owned a firearm as current owners growing more concerned as as events were canceled, schools closed and grocery stores drained, according to industry experts and Andi Morony, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Association. Morony echoed the idea that some of the purchases were the result of “panic buying,” adding that there are groups of people who feel a need to be prepared.  [full article]

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