In the turmoil surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, toilet paper and bottled water aren’t the only products in high demand.
It turns out that Colorado, and Longmont, have seen a large number of people purchasing firearms.
According to data from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation released Monday for the week prior, background checks for firearm transfers have gone up 227% from the same period last year. Background checks are required for all firearm sales in Colorado.
Nearly 25,500 background checks were performed in that period this year, as opposed to almost 7,800 in 2019. Susan Medina, a spokesperson for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, referred to this demand as “unprecedented.”
In Longmont, Rod Brandenburg, the owner of Grandpa’s Pawn and Gun, noted that his shop has been seeing some of these increased sales. He said that in the 23 years he’s been operating the store, he hasn’t seen this kind of demand.
“This by far and away is more electric than Y2K, 9/11 and Sandy Hook,” said Brandenburg. The days following the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, which occurred in December 2012, had set records in the state of Colorado for the number of background checks run.
During that month, nearly 58,000 background checks were performed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
“One of my sales reps has been doing this for 31 years and last Monday was the biggest day she has ever had in this industry,” said Brandenburg.
He added that background checks now take days instead of minutes.
According to a news release from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the agency is averaging a four calendar day turnaround for background checks.
“…the process has slowed down,” said Medina. “We average less than eight minutes per check.”
Gun stores are also unique among many retail locations for another reason — Boulder County’s sweeping stay-at-home order, which tells residents in most circumstances to hunker down, classifies them as essential, meaning they can operate as relatively normally throughout the lockdown.
According to the stay at home order, all essential businesses are “asked to stay open” while abiding by social distancing guidelines by making sure people are separated by six feet.
“People are going to rely on us to keep our composure, and, you know, help them through this tragedy,” said Brandenburg.