U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Gun and ammunition sales are surging around the country, including the Pacific Northwest, thanks apparently to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the potential for, as noted by the Daily Wire, “a breakdown in civil order or even a suspension of weapons sales.”
As reported by KTVU News, in Vallejo, Calif., “More panic buying has erupted due to the coronavirus. And in addition to disinfectants and other household goods, guns and survival gear are in demand.”
Dan Mitchell, owner of Sporting Systems in Vancouver, told AmmoLand News via email, “400,000 rounds (of ammunition) sold last week. Line around the block.”
“Unique circumstances are driving temporary operational changes during this time.
Firearms sales will be limited to 2 per family.
Ammunition sales will be limited. We have a lot of ammunition on hand. But will not release more than 1500 rounds or 5 boxes to any one family, per day. Our prices remain the same as they were a month ago. If a price has changed, it’s because our cost has changed, which would only be a few percentage points if any.
Entry to store will be limited to 10 guests at a time. If you bring a large group or family members, they will be allowed in…but it will restrict others access to the store. Please be considerate.
Private party transfers, limit of 2 per group. Seller will be asked to wait outside after dropping the firearm off unless they wish to shop.
If you have symptoms, or live with a family member with symptoms, please stay home.
The self-service workbench will closed to service or customer assembly.
Any attempt to hoard any product, the sale will be declined.
There is already a line at the door, be patient and keep your distance while in line.
ANY bad attitude will result in the immediate ejection from the store and sale declined. Our staff has been working their asses off, please be respectful and kind when visiting. We promise to offer the best service and attitude possible.
We look forward to helping as many folks as possible. Your patience is appreciated.”
Recently adopted guidelines in Washington State, where the majority of early fatalities were reported, have brought about other business changes. For example, Sharp Shooting Indoor Range in Spokane has posted this notice on its Facebook page:
“To comply with current federal and state requirements we are reducing hours of operation and canceling all classes, fun shoots, bullseye, and date nights. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience but wish to continue to meet all social distancing, CDC, and department of health requirements. General range use with reduced capacity and retail operations will continue unless guidelines are changed. We will continue to update and return to standard operations as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.”
The Sacramento Bee quoted Gabriel Vaughn, owner of Sportsman’s Arms in Petaluma, Calif,, explaining the first-time gun buying experience of some customers.
“People who tell me that they don’t like guns,” Vaughn said, “but they’re here to begrudgingly buy one. And if it makes somebody feel safe and they’re legal to own one, then sure.”
But there are problems in Washington State, where police agencies have suspended taking fingerprints for people applying for a concealed pistol license for the first time. For example, the Bellevue Police Department notes on its website:
“Applications for a Washington State concealed pistol license and/or a firearms dealer license can be obtained through the Police Records Department during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). A complete set of fingerprints is required to be submitted for all original/new concealed pistol license applicants in order to be considered a complete application. Bellevue Police Department Fingerprinting services have been suspended until further notice. New/Original Applications that are accepted during this suspension period without a complete set of fingerprints attached will be held until fingerprinting can be completed at a later date or you may also provide a completed fingerprint card taken by another agency.”
Bellevue Police Department public information officer Meghan Black told Ammoland News via telephone that in the past two weeks, there has been a 144 percent increase in the number of firearm transfer applications. In January, the department received 150 transfer applications, and last month, there were 149. These normally apply to handgun purchases.
Since March 1, there have been 386 transfer applications, she reported via email.
In addition, the department averages 80 to 85 applications for a concealed pistol license. During the first half of March, there were 80 already.
The King County Sheriff’s Department has also suspended fingerprinting, with this notice being distributed to the news media via email:
“Story- Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht has announced additional measures to increase social distancing, in light of COVID-19, regarding some of our public facing services.
“Effective immediately, the King County Sheriff’s Office will not process any new Concealed Pistol License (CPL) applications. These applications require fingerprinting in close quarters that we do not think is safe for our community members or our employees at this time.
“The King County Sheriff’s Office public facing service window in the King County Courthouse will be on shortened service hours until further notice. New hours will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Thank you for your understanding during this health emergency.”
There does not appear to have been a suspension of fingerprinting of criminal suspects during the booking procedure by any law enforcement agency in the state.
On March 6, the Washington Department of Licensing reported 650,825 active CPLs in the state. Washington is the smallest western state, but it has the second-highest number of active carry licenses, after Utah.
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