MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG/Associated Press) — You’ve seen the empty toilet paper and soap aisles since coronavirus concerns mounted. But another product is gone from the shelves and as impossible to find — ammo.
Shelves at Academy Sports and Outdoors in Mobile and other stores have been cleared since last week, despite buying limits. And there’s no guarantee when more will be available.
Retailers say the buying frenzy is being fueled by consumers who are worried that people are becoming so desperate and unpredictable, they need to ensure they can protect themselves.
Just as grocery stores have been stripped bare by Americans panicked by coronavirus, guns and ammunition have started flying off the shelves.
Sales spiked in a matter of days, industry experts say. Some of the purchases are made by people buying their first firearm. Others are existing gun owners adding to their collection or stocking up on ammunition after seeing grocery stores depleted, schools closed and big events canceled, including the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting.
Also potentially driving the sales are concerns that elected officials may try to restrict access to firearms. A mayor in Illinois recently signed an executive order that would give her the right to ban the sale of guns or ammunition, as did the mayor of New Orleans.
Some gun shows have been canceled, but online sales and in-person sales at federally licensed dealers appear to be up. Ammo.com has reported sales up nearly 70 percent from Feb. 23 to March 4 over the previous 11 days.
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