FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Triad gun stores and sheriff’s offices are working overtime to handle record-setting numbers of people with interest in purchasing firearms.
Pam Brinkley, of SCB Guns and Ammo in Thomasville, described the 2020 sales numbers as “unreal, and the challenge has been trying to keep up the demand.”
2020 was a year filled with violent crimes in the Triad, a presidential election (which also brings a rise in gun sales) and a pandemic.
In talking with her customers, Brinkley said that has all played into people’s mindsets of wanting to purchase a firearm.
“We’ve got older customers who say, ‘I never thought I’d own a gun,’ but they just don’t feel safe. Because people are home more, they’re watching television more, and they’re more in tune with what is going on.”
Places like SCB Guns and Ammo have reported almost triple the business compared to previous years. For her shop, Brinkley said that interest started to pick up in November 2019, with a spike that remained consistent through March.
Stores reported seeing a higher number of women coming in to purchase a handgun, with many customers coming in to purchase an AR-15, .380, .38 special ammo, all three of which are becoming hard to manufacture and keep up with demand.
While gun purchases are up, the request for permits has increased as well.
In Forsyth County, purchase permits were up nearly 300 percent from 2019.
For concealed handgun permits the numbers increased by more than 2,000.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office permit administer, Cpl. Joshua Cofer, explained the higher increase in purchase permits is that they are cheaper than CHL. “A concealed application, you’re going to have to take a gun safety course, which – depending on where you go – is going to be about a hundred dollars give or take. Where as a purchase permit is just five dollars a piece.”
Those numbers, compared to the previous election were also up significantly.
In Forsyth County, the sheriff’s office has appointments for individuals planned out until April 2020, and have brought in extra staff to accommodate the record numbers. They are also staying on track to fill the request in the time frame allowed.