Gun Control Fears Spark Buying Frenzy

Frank Provance, owner of Sand Hill Gun Shop in Wheeling, said three of his five cases of guns and ammunition in the store are almost empty due to a recent gun-buying frenzy that is emptying local gun shops of their stock.

“Everybody’s out of everything,” Provance said. “It’s crazy. You can’t buy anything. There’s not a revolver for sale from any of the warehouses, and almost all the major gun manufacturers are out of stock.”

Provance recently said his store was out of .22-caliber bullets, 9 mm ammunition and clips, AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, .38-caliber revolvers and Glocks. He said he had one AK-47 rifle left and a few 9 mm guns. According to Provance, the store has been seeing an influx of about 30-35 customers a day since sales started booming in December.

“The sales are skyrocketing,” he said. “I’ve sold things I thought I would never sell. I sold two black powder pistols this morning. People come in and just buy anything that looks like a gun.”

According to Provance, his store mostly gets its guns and ammunition from Outdoor Sports Headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, which has six warehouses between Connecticut and Miami, Fla., that are out of stock as well. Provance has considered buying from Lew Horton Distributing Co. in Westboro, Mass., but thought its prices were too high. Most of the store’s incoming merchandise is now from people selling their old guns, a practice Provance said is keeping the store open.

Provance said he wasn’t sure why so many customers have flocked to the store recently, but he speculated they might be afraid of losing their right to own guns.

“It’s a buying frenzy. They’re afraid someone’s going to take (their guns) off them,” Provance said. “I don’t think that’s the case. I imagine this will all cool down eventually and everything will go back to normal.”

Other local gun shops are having trouble keeps guns and ammunition on their shelves as well. Bill Monahan of Shooters Inc. in Bridgeport said his store’s stock is barely keeping up with sales.

“Demand has exceeded supply by a large margin,” Monahan said. “Everybody is having trouble stocking their shelves with ammunition. There are millions of reasons people are buying, the list goes on. It’ll settle back down.”

Cabela’s at The Highlands declined to comment on its gun sales for this article.