CHADDS FORD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — You can’t shoot a virus but gun sales are soaring across the Delaware Valley during the coronavirus pandemic. In a Tuesday morning decision, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf determined that firearm retailers could remain open as “essential” businesses if they operate by appointment only.
Many retailers in our region have seen a serious surge in customers.
This is not a line for eggs or even toilet paper.
“I’m here to buy ammunition,” Cameron Styles said.
Styles fears a shortage. With many other retailers struggling with gun and ammo inventory, he drove up from Maryland only to stand in a line outside of Targetmaster Gun Range and Shop in Chadds Ford.
While social distancing was clearly not adhered to outside, the business only allowed a small number of customers inside at a time.
“It’s sort of a better safe than sorry type of mindset,” Styles said.
Across the region and country, firearm retailers have been bombarded by an influx of customers.
This week, a line was also present outside of the Philadelphia Archery and Gun Club.
“We have a ton of people out there buying weapons because they are scared of this uncertain time and we have a lot of new gun owners who have weapons that they may have never touched,” Bucks County Sheriff Milton Warrell said.
Warrell says his department wanted to make sure the new owners received property safety training.
Of course, it couldn’t be held in person because of the coronavirus outbreak so he contacted the National Rifle Association.
“They offered to do a web-based training that they normally do as an on-site seminar program if I hosted it,” Warrell said.
The Facebook Live will be held on the Bucks County Sherriff’s page and will offer police-grade training in the safety basics. That includes how the gun should be handled and stored.
Over 1,000 people have already signed up.
Outside Targetmaster, many customers said they would rather be safe than sorry in a situation where the coronavirus could somehow delay police response.
“I’m glad I was here at 8:30 to get in and out,” said Richard Oliver, who owns a security company.
But Oliver, who needed ammo for training, feels that a firearm shouldn’t be an impulse buy.
“I believe that some of these people across the country who are buying a gun for the first time when this craze is over, they will be back selling those guns,” Oliver said.
The Facebook Live training takes place Wednesday at 7 p.m.