Gun sales skyrocketing during pandemic creating nationwide shortage of ammunition

This Week in Connecticut

(WTNH) — Gun sales have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a nationwide shortage of ammunition. But how did we get here and why?

Panic buying in a pandemic. It stripped supermarket shelves down to nearly nothing. Guns and ammo were no different.

Peter Estrada, a pistol permit instructor in North Haven explained, “There’s nothing at the gun stores. It’s been like this since about July.”

He said during the height of the pandemic he went from teaching two to three classes per week to five or six a week. And on his days off, he hunts for ammunition.

“I go down south to I-95, start stopping in gun stores, Walmarts – some Walmarts sell ammunition. So I would drive around from store to store to store, about three to four hours just trying to find ammunition.”

But what caused this dramatic surge and why?

Estrada points to the riotous summer of 2020 — stark images of people clashing with police, buildings on fire, vandalism, and deadly shootings.

“With the issues with rioting, people aren’t sure about their safety and stuff like that so business really picked up dramatically after that.”

According to the National Rifle Association, people who want to protect themselves and their families but cannot find defensive ammunition have substituted it with hunting ammunition.

The NRA says the estimated seven million new shooters are creating more demand on an already strained supply chain.

An estimated 21-million guns were sold in 2020, up 73% over the same period the year before.

In March, Governor Ned Lamont issued executive order 7e–Police departments were no longer allowed to take fingerprints for gun applicants. The goal was to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

Connecticut Citizens Defense League wasn’t happy to hear that, especially since criminals were still required to be fingerprinted.

Holly Sullivan, the president of the CCDL said, “We saw months and months of delays and we actually filed a lawsuit against Gov. Lamont and we won in a temporary injunction from a federal judge…Now things are backed up even into the spring if not beyond.”

Advocates against gun violence say this overwhelming gun-buying trend is scary.

State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-18) explained, “So I introduced a tax on ammunition where the funds generated would go towards evidence-based gun violence prevention programs”

Her proposal includes a two-cent tax per round on ammunition 22 caliber or less and a five-cent tax on all other ammunition.

This proposal not sitting well with gun owners. It’s been submitted to the finance committee.

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