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WA – RETAILERS – From Manufacturing to Retail, Demand for Firearms Puts Strain on Local Businesses

It was already expected to be a busy year for firearm manufacturers and retailers. It is, after all, a presidential election year, which has a tendency to stoke political uncertainty in Americans and an increase in gun sales. But before the election could arrive, a pandemic happened. Then there were protests over police use of force. It was the perfect cocktail of unrest, and now local firearm manufacturers and retailers are experiencing an unexpected shortage of materials and products due to increased demands seen since early March, they say. Shortly before opening on a recent Thursday, Tom Engel, owner of i5 Guns and Ammo, stood behind the glass counter that lines the perimeter of his showfloor. Rifles and other firearms were hung and displayed behind him, with roughly a third of the hangers bare. Some of the display holders underneath the glass counter were empty too. Business for the small firearms retailer located off Martin Way has been booming, and that can be both a good and bad thing. With everything that’s going on in the world it’s not just gun enthusiasts purchasing firearms any more, Engel said. “There’s a lot of people buying,” he said. “Two things we’ve been hearing a lot is ‘never thought I’d buy a gun’ and ‘never knew how hard it is to buy a gun.’” Due to the nature of the nation’s political climate, more people are purchasing accessories, firearms and ammunition, which Engel said has been unexpected. The downside to the increase in business is that it’s now harder to keep merchandise on the shelves and sometimes even more difficult to come across products everybody wants to get their hands on. “The numbers are better, but the largest thing is that inventory is exhausted,” he said, adding that high-demand firearms include defensive shotguns and handguns.  With the scarcity of accessories and ammo also comes the increased demand for training.  [full article]

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