Battle Creek firearms dealer Joel Fulton has been working through a lot of challenges in the last couple of months. The COVID-19 virus outbreak takes the blame for several. When it comes to the current issue, maybe not so much.  Fulton and all other gun shop owners around the country are seeing a huge increase in the demand for weapons.  Fulton says previous bumps in sales were short term things based on people responding to changes in gun laws or political rhetoric.  This time, however, Fulton says the increase in sales is because customers tell him they fear they may have to save their own lives from the violence and rioting we see in cities across the country.

Fulton posted a graphic on his Facebook page earlier this week pointing out he had 33 firearms left in his Capital Avenue store.  Typically Freedom Firearms has about 300 pistols, rifles, and shotguns on hand. But demand and resulting supply chain issues make it significantly harder to keep weapons in stock. The demand for personal protection weapons has skyrocketed. Not just in this area, but nationwide. So has demand for Concealed Pistol Licenses, or CPL’s. Fulton’s store offers certified training clinics to qualify for the state permit required to carry a concealed handgun. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports nearly 90% of firearms dealers are experiencing sales levels nearly doubling from last year. Most also report a more than 100% increase in sales of ammunition. FBI statistics show 28.3 million firearms background checks for all of last year. So far this year, approaching 23 million have been completed. A majority of firearms purchases this year are by first time gun owners.

Fulton says it’s not just the weapons and ammunition in short supply. Just about every accessory item is also hard to come by right now.  Fulton this week was able to get some help from a Kalamazoo firearms dealer who sold a mix of a few dozen pistols, rifles and shotguns to Fulton so he could rebuild his inventory.  Which might last one week.

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