Gun sales continue to surge on Lower Eastern Shore
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – A spike in sales and a lack of inventory. That’s what local sporting goods stores say they’re dealing with right now. “The inventory is the lowest I’ve ever seen it. You look around and the shelves for ammo are bare. Getting firearms in has been a struggle. We’re getting a few here and there, and they’re usually spoken for as soon as they walk in the door,” said Owner of Wink’s Sporting Goods Jamie Wink.
Wink says first time customers are showing up at his store wanting to buy guns and ammo more than he’s ever seen before. He says right now, home defense shot guns and AR-15s are the hottest items. “Whenever there’s talk of gun control people rush to buy guns for fear they won’t be able to, or just for unrest around the country. People want to have protection in their house,” said Wink.
But Wink says he wants those first time customers to know that making sure they’re being safe and responsible gun owners should be the first item on their shopping list. “It’s great to want to have a gun. But they should get some kind of training, whether it’s formal training or a friend of theirs who knows a lot about guns. Go the range and practice, practice, practice,” said Wink.
Meanwhile, local law enforcement is also reminding people to practice responsible gun ownership. Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli says those wanting to purchase a gun typically have to start with going through Maryland State Police, and a thorough background check. After that, he says those approved should take all the precautions necessary to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. “They must be proficient with the gun. They have to treat the gun as if it’s always loaded, and they have to make sure that they do not keep it accessible to anyone under the age of 16,” said Sheriff Crisafulli.
Sheriff Crisafulli says his office did see an increase in handgun arrests in 2020. However, he says most of those individuals were not legally allowed to own handguns. Plus, the Sheriff adds that he can’t draw a definitive connection between that increase and the spike in sales.
Moms Demand Action volunteer Nicole Hollywood tells 47ABC safe storage of guns is especially important if you have children in your house. “With millions of children and teens learning virtually, people working from home, and gun sales surging during the pandemic – many of which went to first time purchasers – secure gun storage has never been more important,” said Hollywood.
According to the CDC, guns are the leading cause of death for children ages one through 19 in the state of Maryland. Nationally, Hollywood says millions of children could be at risk because of improper gun storage. “Approximately 4.6 million children live in a household with at least one gun. It is stored loaded and unlocked and accessible. That can have devastating consequences,” said Hollywood.
Hollywood says Moms Demand Action has a memory tool that gun owners can use to ensure they’re keeping their children out of harm’s way. She says gun owners should “Be SMART”. “Secure guns in your home and vehicle, model responsible behavior with guns, ask about the presence of guns in other peoples’ homes before sending your children over, recognize the role of guns in suicide, and tell others to be responsible with their guns,” said Hollywood.