Guns and ammunition have joined the list of items in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. “People are hoarding it,” said John Cragin, owner of Cragin’s Gun Shop in Rutland. “I’m going into deer season, and I have no .308 ammo at all and no 30-30 ammo. .308 is one of our biggest sellers. The hunters are going to be cranky.” Cragin said guns are going out the door quickly, as well. While he normally sells 350 to 360 in a calendar year, he said he is already approaching 400 sales. “We haven’t been able to get a steady supply of ammo for three or four months,” he said. “It’s getting worse.” Chris Bradley, president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (Vermont’ National Rifle Association affiliate), said the phenomenon is a national one, with a spike in gun sales driven by the unrest during the summer. “Large, violent protests, people being attacked — first-time gun owners are purchasing firearms en masse to protect themselves,” he said.
While Bradley cited the specter of rioting, Eric Meyer of the Liberal Gun Club — who noted that while conservatives do outpace liberals in gun-ownership, roughly a quarter of people who identify as liberal are gun-owners — said that organization’s paid membership has grown by 25% in the past six months. “I would largely attribute that to the rhetoric coming out of the White House,” said Meyer, the national organization’s director of membership and training. “Seeing a lot of the right-wing responses to the (Black Lives Matter) protests has driven things. [full article]