SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) — Gunmaker stocks are up! That’s because according to reports, around 80-percent more guns were sold in May 2020 compared to May 2019, and most of them are handguns.

This all started with the coronavirus pandemic now add violent protests and looting. People are scared. In many cases, the firearms are being purchased by people who have never owned a gun and maybe never even thought they would before now.

Gun shops across the country are staying busy, including shops on the Gulf Coast.

“The way gun sales normally work is we go into the holiday season and people are buying gifts, that type of thing. We roll into tax season, that’s usually a good time, then it kind of drops off,” said Josh South, owner of South’s Outpost.

But this year is different.

“We had the pandemic happen, gun sales increased exponentially, and then in the last week or so we’ve had civil unrest around the country and that just gave it a shot in the arm,” said South.

He says the coronavirus pandemic and riots in recent weeks have “disrupted the entire gun industry supply chain.”

“Ammo, that’s firearms, handguns, rifles, down to rifle slings. You know if you’re a rifle sling manufacturer, you don’t have any rifle slings right now,” said South.

He believes more people are just putting more thought into personal protection these days.

He said, “I think the pandemic started it, but I think people are just becoming more aware of their surroundings and want to be able to protect themselves and their family.”

And it sounds like he’s exactly right! People who have never owned a gun before are buying them now, particularly females.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but this is the tipping point and I need to protect myself,” said Innessa Solovyev, first-time gun buyer.

“The mentality of some people, just, they get crazy and desperate and you never know what’s going to happen,” said Bonnie Brown, first-time gun buyer.

In March 2020, the FBI reported 3.7-million firearm background checks– the highest number of checks in a single month since the launch of the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System in 1998. That is followed by May 2020, with close to 3.1-million background checks. In April 2020, there were 2.9-million– the largest number for April in the system’s history. The only other time the NICS hit the 3-million mark was in December 2015.

South says gun ownership should be looked at as a responsibility and taken seriously, and he suggests training for anyone thinking about buying a firearm for the first time.