Gun sales increase, dealers face ammo shortages during the COVID-19 outbreak

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska Ammo owner Cody Brons says his business has seen a significant increase in recent weeks.

This empty shelf space at Alaska Ammo would normally be occupied by 9mm ammunition. Stores have seen shortages of multiple calibers of ammunition in recent weeks.

"It's been absolutely insane, nothing like we've ever seen before," he told KTUU on Monday morning.

With citizens becoming more aware and increasingly concerned over COVID-19, gun sales are up - nationwide, according to recent numbers, reported by CNN.

"A lot of people are scared and want to protect their families and make sure they have enough to get them through," Brons said. "It's kind've like people that have been buying all the toilet paper. You want to have a good stockpile to make sure your family is prepared."

As a result of this behavior, ammo shortages are starting to become an issue for more and more dealers, including those here in Alaska.

"9mm, .223 and 5.56 are the ones that have been the most in demand," Brons said. "It's been very challenging to get them. Distribution centers are sold out nationwide."

Alaska Ammo did anticipate something like this could happen if COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, did eventually arrive in Alaska, and Brons is expecting the arrival of a few last-minute orders that he put in ahead of the shortage; however, he estimates that what would normally be a 3-week supply of 9mm ammunition will only last on shelves for about 3 days at current rates. On top of returning business, new customers are also driving that demand even higher,

"We're seeing a lot of new shooters or first-time gun owners coming in and picking up a new firearm," he said.

Brons says his business falls under the "essential" designation as its operation is crucial for local and federal agencies, as well as the rural communities that really on subsistence hunting. Alaska Ammo plans to remain open, with minor adjustments to business policies in order to comply with state-issued mandates. The store is offering mailing and shipping options, parking lot pickup and is limiting its in-store customers to six at a time.

"Hopefully the manufacturing and distribution lines will recover quickly and get more ammunition to all the stores that need it."

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