LIMA — Local gun sellers say sales of ammunition and guns have risen since the announcement of the coronavirus with first-time and returning gun owners looking to protect themselves in uncertain times.
Phil Hesseling, Hesseling & Sons Firearms owner, 2818 Elida Road, Lima, said ammunition and firearm sales have been brisk with lines inside and outside the store since last week.
“The lines started last Friday with people waiting an hour to check out, a half hour to an hour to come in and we are regulating the number of people inside the business from five to eight people at a time and social distancing at least six feet,” Hesseling said.
Popular gun sales have been handguns including Smith & Wesson, Glocks and Sig Sauer. Popular ammunition is 9 millimeter. There also was a run on home defense shotguns and AR 15s. A large influx in first-time gun buyers also is happening, according to Hesseling.
“People will come in and say they need a gun and you will start to ask them which one and they say, ‘I don’t care, I just need a gun,’” Hesseling said.
Midwest Shooting Center, 501 S. Dixie Highway, Cridersville, has seen an influx of customers purchasing guns and ammunition since last weekend, according to Brad McCluer, Midwest Shooting Center general manager.
“The phones have been ringing and in store-business has increased with a lot of interest in budget-friendly pistols that are under $400,” McCluer said.
He said many of the customers are first-time gun buyers who want to find something that fits in their price range.
“Between the coronavirus information and tax season lining up this year. people are buying guns,” McCluer said. The business, which also has a shooting range, has been open since March 16, 2019.
Midwest Shooting Center sells hunting rifles, shotguns, AR-15s, pistols and revolvers that cover all price ranges. Ammunition ranges from defensive and hunting rounds to ball rounds.
“Our supply has gotten lower than what we typically would like to see, but are not completely out and have inventory showing up from around the U.S. every hour,” McCluer said.
He advised customers to research at home online the types of guns they want. The business has a rental option to try out a gun before purchasing.
Ron Deatrick, Tri-R Guns owner, 271 E. Second St., Ottawa, said the coronavirus outbreak has definitely increased gun and ammunition sale business.
“We have 9 millimeter ammunition, sold 8,000 rounds and have 12,000 rounds left,” Deatrick said. He said it is hard to order more ammunition because distributors are out.
Tri-R Guns has sold about a dozen AR guns over the past week and a half. There have been many first-time gun buyers looking to buy guns to protect themselves, according to Deatrick.
“People have fear with the rumor mill going rampant and are afraid people will start stealing food and gas to make ends meet, and they are trying to protect their families and property,” Deatrick said.
The business has 22s, shotguns, ARs and handguns for sale.
Steve Wynn, Ottawa Ordnance Firearms & Accessories salesman, said sales at his business have increased drastically since the end of last week.
“There were groups of people waiting around to be helped. We have four employees the store,” Wynn said.
He said 9 millimeter ammunition is popular and the business has sold six case since March 13 and was out as of Wednesday afternoon but have more in now. There is a selection of 9 millimeter guns that are for sale.
Guns that have done well in selling are three dozen Smith & Wesson and Glocks.
Wynn, 70, has sold guns for the past five years and said he has not seen anything like this.
“I haven’t had time to stop and think about it because we have been so busy. I’m thankful for the business,” Wynn said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.