New numbers show that gun sales are surging in Virginia
New numbers from the state of Virginia show that gun sales have begun to surge during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Monday that the Virginia Firearms Transaction Center recorded 80,228 transactions in March.
That's a 75% spike over the same month last year. And it is the highest total for any month on record since state police started tracking purchases in 1990.
The new numbers surpass the state's previous record from December 2012. Experts said that spike was fueled by concerns about increased gun restrictions after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Matt Hill, the owner of Liberty Arms in Harrisonburg, told WHSV back in March that business at their store doubled in a week as state-level responses to COVID-19 first began.
Gun and ammunition distributors have struggled to keep up with the demand.
"The ammo and gun companies weren't expecting this, so they didn't have production ramped up," Hill said.
A high proportion of sales at Liberty Arms have been first-time gun buyers. One customer, who did not want to be identified, believes anxiety about the "unknown" is causing the influx.
"People are afraid of civil unrest...stores not having food," the customer said. "They're trying to protect themselves and protect their households because you never know what a hungry person might do."