Gun Sales Rise During Civil Unrest, Pandemic

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Gun sales are up in parts of the D.C. area, and they have been climbing for some time, now.

“We’ve got people coming in daily,” said Hazen Lancaster, owner of Haze Line Guns in Laurel, Maryland. “New gun buyers, they were popping up out of the woodwork, say, like, last March when the pandemic started, and it’s been ongoing”

Maryland State Police tracks applications for gun purchases, which is a strong indicator of demand. The numbers show that for the two-month period between November 2019 and January 2020, 11,286 applications were received. Between last November and this January, there’ve been 23,626 applications received — more than double a year ago.

One gun owner told News4 if he weren’t already a gun owner, he’d be in the market for one.

“Just because of the political climate nowadays, the civil unrest that’s going on,” he said.

Lancaster said the onslaught of new purchasers also leads to some hitches.

“We have a lot of people now that are buying guns that they can’t get; we have to send those back,” he said.

Gun control groups say that’s proof that ordinances, like Maryland’s red flag laws, are working. They’re designed to prohibit sales to those deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.

Doing one’s homework, like perusing the information on the state’s website regarding training and restrictions, can clear up some of the confusion, Lancaster said.

“Got a lot of people that are buying guns and they say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I was a felon,’” Lancaster said.

Manufacturers are also challenged to keep pace with demand. There are lots of back orders.

Lancaster is among those who think regulations can hinder commerce.

“I'm not mad at y’all, state police,” he said. “I ain't mad at ya. We just gotta do what we gotta do.”

He said he will continue to comply.

The group Marylanders Against Gun Violence says the steep increase in gun sales has stressed the background check system. The group feels the spike could lead to regulated guns being sold without proper background checks.

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