Local gun stores say despite high guns sales, owners are still struggling in the industry

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — In 2020, the nation saw a surge in gun sales that’s continuing into 2021. Reports from the National Sporting Shoots Foundations show more than 20 million guns were purchased over the past year.

Kevin Moody, owner of KAM Shooting Sports in Morton, said the spike in gun sales from last year is showing no sign of slowing down.

“Not right now, no,” Moody said. “Other than it’s very difficult to get inventory. That’s the biggest thing right now is we can’t order anything.”

He attributes the spike in firearm sales to the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest and new regulations.

“People think they won’t be able to get them [firearms] anymore,” Moody said. “The regulations take them away. They make them harder to buy certain types of firearms or make it harder to buy certain types of ammunition.”

Justin Lipes, owner of The Tac Shack in Peoria, said the majority of the purchases he saw came from new gun owners.

“I was kind of shocked at how many people during this pandemic were buying guns for the very first time,” Lipes said.

But Moody said even with high gun sales and his concealed carry class filling up for the next three months, he said things are still tough on shop owners.

One example he gave is Illinois’ Firearm Dealer License Certification. He said it added more requirements from when they were just regulated at the federal level.

“We have to basically keep two sets of books,” Moody said. We had to add a whole bunch of cameras, a security plan, and we had to pay extra money for that certificate on top of our federal licensing and regulations we had to take care of.”

Lipes said the requirements are apart of a system that’s currently backed up and frustrating for gun store owners.

“A lot of that stuff is in disarray,” Lipes said. “You’ll get something in the mail that says you’ll need to do this, but then there’s no follow-up or execution so a lot of the time us dealers are lost on what we’re supposed to be doing and we have to reach out a lot.”

Lipes also said the wait-time for FOID cards, shortage of products, and delayed manufacturing are also problems the industry is facing.

“With this high demand, the supply is down and the demand is up so you know what that does to the market? It drives prices up and stuff’s hard to get and it’s harder to deliver to the customer,” Lipes said. “What used to take days is taking weeks and months.”

He also said he wants people to stop hoarding.

“A lot of times within the gun community is when there’s tragedy, there’s a lot of hoarding,” Lipes said “A lot of people hoarding and selling on the secondary market and it drives the prices up and makes it harder for the consumer to get what they really want and what they really need.”

Moody also said as the nation prepares to transition to a new administration where there could be more gun legislation, he sees that possibly leading to another surge in purchasing them.

“I think it’s going to scare people into buying more guns and scare people into thinking guns are going to become illegal,” Moody said.

But he said he hopes the vilification of guns and gun owners can soon be a thing of the past.

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