NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It’s no secret there’s been a rush on toilet paper and groceries in the last few days, but that’s not all that’s in demand. In the last two weeks, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office has seen a spike in gun permit applications.
Between March 16 and Wednesday, the sheriff’s office has received 465 applications for gun permits.
A local gun shop also says they’ve recorded around 10 times as much business in the last few weeks, but it’s not just coming from first-time buyers.
“Every now and then it does happen,” DB Guns and Ammo owner Dane Britt said. “Once a year or every two years. Right before Florence, we saw a big rush with guns.”
Britt says they’ve had a mix of people coming in to buy a gun for their own personal protection, but also gun enthusiasts coming to buy ammo.
“I think one of the main things is people want to feel secure,” Britt said. “But people do feel like if they don’t have anything right now, they want to have something before it’s gone.”
The sheriff’s office typically gets 10 to 25 permit applications a day. But recently, they’ve been getting anywhere from 40 to 100 applications each day.
While they’ve seen gun sales go up, Britt says they’ve seen the sale of ammo go up even more.
“There’s a lot of gun enthusiasts who really enjoy shooting as stress relief,” he said. “So their concern is, this is their outlet. Shooting guns is their outlet. They like going to the range. They enjoy spending time with their family shooting guns, so if all the ammo is going away and they won’t be able to have that outlet, that kind of makes them nervous.”
During a stressful time like this with so many places closing, Britt says a lot of people are just worried they’ll lose another thing they enjoy doing.
“We’re seeing more ammo than gun sales, but they want to be able to shoot and enjoy that time that’s like their release,” he said.
If you are a first-time buyer right now, Britt encourages everyone to still educate yourself on gun safety.
“Do whatever you have to do to look into gun safety,” he said. “Try to be as cautious and respectful I guess to the people around you as possible.”
Britt says they do offer training classes at their shop. He also says you should expect to see a rise in gun and ammo prices for a little while.
Although some counties have paused the permit process, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is still accepting applications.