Gun dealers try to keep up with demand in Wisconsin amid pandemic

Gun dealers say the spike in demand for guns and ammunition driven by the coronavirus pandemic has not subsided in Wisconsin.

Dealers say they are still having trouble keeping their stores stocked ten months after the first COVID-19 cases started showing up in the state.

At Superior Shooters Supply in Superior, Pat Kukull says panic buying has forced her to ration bullets to one box per person. Kukull says she's had trouble obtaining pepper spray and air rifles.

Kukull told Wisconsin Public Radio last March that her gun sales had risen as much as 500 percent. She said recently demand has been solid every day.

"This is not a happy time," said Kukull. "Are we clearing out old inventory that’s been here for a while? You bet we are. But for the most part, this is not the way we want to do business. You know, we want this to be a good experience for the buyer and a good experience for us."

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Protests over racial injustice have also contributed to demand, she said.

Troy Dormady has worked at Moe Hardware Hank and Sporting Goods in River Falls for more than 20 years and said he has never seen demand like this.

"I never thought I’d run out of 30-30 shells ever," Dormady said. "I mean, I had a basement full and, yeah, I ran out of 30-30 shells for a couple of weeks there."

Dormady and Kukull said ammo production was also impacted by COVID-19. In July, Remington Arms Co. filed for bankruptcy protections in federal court.

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