Springfield pawn shop discusses increase in gun sales

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 6:42 PM CDT
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Gun sales in the Ozarks and across the country have seen a significant spike in the last few months, some of the highest in years.

Some local gun shops said the jump in sales came as a bit of a surprise, likely related to two driving factors --the pandemic and nationwide protests.

"Starting out you know, I believe it was probably the COVID scare," Armed Sources Guns and Pawn employee Anthony Kurpjuweit said. "With everything ranging from toilet paper, meat and everything else, people just wanted to be prepared."

Then came the Black Lives Matter movement just a few months after the pandemic.

"We had the protests breaking out all across the country," Kurpjuweit said. "And that just kind of re-ignited it. And it has just kind of been that way since then."

Data from the FBI also supports what Kurpjuweit is seeing at his store.

In March there was a substantial hike of close to 30,000 more firearm background checks in Missouri. There were more than 76,000 checks in March compared to the nearly 48,000 in February.

There were 10,000 more firearm background checks in June than there were in May. In may there were a little more than 57,000 checks, while there were close to 68,000 in June.

Kurpjuweit said the toughest part is keeping up with demand.

“Actually getting the supply in the store to sell," he said. "Because of COVID, manufacturing has shutdown. So the manufacturers had nothing to sell to our distributors. And we have already picked our distributors clean."

Kurpjuweit said his shop has had a mix of sales, but handguns have sold the quickest. He also said ammo has been hard to keep in stock, especially 9mm ammo.

"People are looking for something they can have around the house," he said. "That is mainly the big concern, their safety not just when they are out, but I think they are more concerned about what is going around there house as well."

Kurpjuweit said he thinks the trend will continue.

"When something is hard to get, everyone wants it," he said.