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Gun sales up, ammunition supplies limited in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS — Gun dealers in Minnesota attribute a surge in firearms sales to anxiety over the coronavirus, civil unrest and the uncertainties involving the presidential race.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation says there were about 21,900 background checks for gun purchases in Minnesota in August of 2019. This year, there were nearly 35,000 in the same month.

The surge in gun and ammunition sales began in March, as the COVID-19 pandemic lead to panic buying, as it did with some household supplies, according to gun shop owners.

George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May and the protests and violence that followed only accelerated gun and ammunition purchases.

Dave Amon, an agent at Gunstop of Minnetonka, said the demand shows no signs of slowing especially as the changing role of law enforcement is in the spotlight, the Star Tribune reported.

“I’ve seen a lot more single moms that are scared and need something to protect them,” he said. “They’re scared when people talk about defunding the police.”

The coronavirus outbreak has led to limits on the supply of ammunition.

Factories can’t make as many bullets due to COVID-19 shutdowns and social distancing restrictions on the number of employees working at once, Amon said.

When a supply of bullets and shells arrive at stores, they’re gone in a couple hours, shop owners said.