FLORENCE, Ala — Gun sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic, as they tend to do during uncertain times. After the riot at the Capitol building, one Florence gun store and range says sales are up.
We met with Gene Schrieber with Cypress Creek Indoor Shooting Range in Florence. He tells us gun sales have been up since the breach on the Capitol. Schrieber says, "It has increased a lot. I honestly try to avoid the conversations with people about why they want a gun. I feel like that’s their personal business. Their motivations are their motivations. It’s just my job to help them accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish in a responsible and safe way.”
We asked if they’re seeing more first-time firearm owners.
Schrieber tells our reporter, “There’s been a lot of first time buyers in the last several weeks. We do have those conversations to try to get a feel for people and trying to help them pick out what they need to pick out for what they’re looking to accomplish. That does lend itself to them saying ‘I’ve never had a gun’ or ‘I have limited experience with guns’. That does lead us to conversations about training and how to properly store, and carry-- those sorts of things.”
Stocks for large firearm companies have shown spikes since the attack on the Capitol. Stock for Smith & Wesson had risen 12% by the Monday following the riot. But, gun purchases have already been high during the pandemic. The National Shooting Sports Foundation says at least 17.2 million guns were bought in 2020. And just by August alone, 5 million Americans bought a gun for the first time.
Gene Schrieber says, “Sometimes gun sales are driven by what’s going on in the world." He adds, "The year ended with quite a flurry. Between the pandemic, and unrest, and the normal Christmas surge, it ended very busy.”
Schrieber says, the increase in sales brings the opportunity to ‘talk safety’ with buyers. He explains, “There are millions of first-time gun owners and that’s an opportunity to promote safety and responsible gun ownership.” Schrieber adds, “As the gun sales have increased, our training demands have increased. All the way from youth classes to adult and women's-only classes that we offer.." Schrieber tells our reporter, class sizes have been adjusted to stay safe during the pandemic. He says, "We added more classes, so there’s more opportunities.”