Wake County Sheriff’s Office experienced a recent surge of gun permit applications, reflecting a nationwide trend.
According to a WRAL (Raleigh) News Report, gun permits issued in Wake County, North Carolina, were up by 373% in 2020 compared to the previous year. The year saw nearly 58,000 new pistol permits, more than the previous three years combined.
The number of firearms, ammunition, and other self-protection items such as pepper spray and stun guns have been flying off the shelves. Apparently, the number of permits does not necessarily reflect the number of guns sold. That number is projected to be even higher.
Allen Jones, co-owner of AJ Guns, said “the majority of people don’t even get permits. You don’t need a permit to purchase an AR, you just need to go in with your ID and a federal background check.”
WRAL News interviewed gun store owner Clay Ausley and Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker to find out more about the reasons behind this surge in permits and gun sales, and what the effect may be.
Ausley said there were many factors in combination behind the increase in demand, beginning in 2019 with Virginia legislation that aimed to increase regulations and restrictions on firearm sales and ownership. COVID-19 also stoked fears and animosity that led to an increase in people looking for self-protection.
In addition, the social unrest and protests following the death of George Floyd and the need to protect one’s business were also major motivations behind the increase in firearm demand. Ausley also noted that gun sales typically spike during election years, and that the bankruptcy of arms manufacturer Remington Arms Company disrupted the supply chain and increased sales.
During 2020, the nation saw nearly 8 million new gun owners, which has made it more difficult for law enforcement to stay equipped. Ausley said, “these are new to the industry customers, they have never owned a gun. We’re talking about 8 million new gunowners in 2020. Now, if each one of those gun customers got two boxes of ammo with their purchase, you’re talking about 16 million boxes of ammo. That is 800 million rounds of ammunition. All of these numbers equal a whole lot of guns going out the door. In addition to our regular client base, we just have got a whole lot of new customers buying.”
Clay’s store offers discounts for law enforcement so they can stay well-equipped during the gun-run.
Sheriff Baker understood the driving emotional need for self-protection that has become more prevalent over the last year, and remained positive about the trend. He said, “we understand the need and the desire. We understand the fear that some people have due to the unrest and the protests.”
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office has been dealing with long lines of people applying for permits. Baker admitted that in 2020 the office was “swamped.”
“It was a challenge – something this county or any other county has never seen before. The numbers show it.”