Anxiety, uncertainty drive record year in gun sales

Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 9:21 PM EST
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Bardstown, KY (WAVE) - After a year of a pandemic, protests, and divisive politics, gun sales are setting new records.

In 2020, the FBI reported nearly 40 million background checks for people purchasing firearms. At the Kentucky Gun Company in Bardstown, 2020 was a record year with sales in-store and online more than doubling.

“This demand is industry-wide, manufacturers just can’t keep up with that demand,” Kentucky Gun Company Marketing Director Christian Swarts said. “And retailers like us, we’re scrambling for any kind of products we can get.

Swarts said the trend is driven by an influx of first-time gun buyers and people seeking weapons for personal protection.

“We can’t keep ammo in stock,” Swarts said. “That and AR 15′s, we can’t keep those in stock either. And some of the most popular handguns, the best-selling models, they’re very hard to get a hold of.”

At the Bardstown store on Friday, racks normally packed with rifles and shelves for ammo were largely empty. Some customers complained of traveling from store to store trying to find supplies.

“I’ve been to three different stores,” Steven Stumps said as he looked for ammunition. “All the way from Shelby County to Louisville, all the way back to here. And they’re plum out of everything.”

Faye Johnson was at the Bardstown store purchasing her first gun, a 9-millimeter handgun.

“And the way the world is now,” Johnson said, “everything going on, you need something.”

Another first-time buyer who did not want to be identified said she was also worried about her security.

“Now I go to the shooting range and get more used to it as my own personal firearm and hope I never have to use it in any self-protection,” she said. “But the way everything is going lately, who knows?”

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