By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
Gun dealers were apparently too busy with customers or unwilling to talk to a reporter on Tuesday, but their online posts indicate a dramatic hike in business saying they are having a hard time finding ammunition and keeping it on the shelves, particularly for handguns.
As many people scrambled to restructure their lives in the new reality of restrictions during New Hampshire’s COVID-19 State of Emergency, many people were also heading to stores that sell guns and ammunition.
“Let me stop you right now. I’ve got a store full of people,” said the person who answered the phone at Merrimack Firearms in southern New Hampshire. “I have to deal with my customers.”
At Shooters Outpost in Hooksett, the phone was not answered on two attempts but its Facebook page indicated it had a shipment of ammunition for handguns, but it was going fast.
“We will remain open as long as we can or unless ordered to close. We received a little more (ammunition) with millions of dollars of ammunition on order before this madness began,” the post read, noting they were not putting limits on quantities of purchase but asking all to “not get carried away,” hoping there would be enough for all customers.
According to the Alstead Gun Shop Inc., which posted March 15 at 7:38 p.m., people from Massachusetts were trying to buy guns in New Hampshire since the COVID-19 outbreak but were finding it hard.
“I received this email at the end of a very busy day and had to tell this man that he cannot legally buy a firearm at any federally licensed dealer because he does not possess a Massachusetts Carry permit or F.I.D. card. This, people, is WHY even if you don’t own a gun or think you need a gun to protect your family, YOU support and protect the gun rights of ALL Americans!!!!
“Does anyone think that in times of National Crisis (whether you see it that way or not) that waiting nine months if you have a clean background check is soon enough to protect your family?” the Facebook post reads.
It referenced an email received from a 24-year-old Massachusetts resident worried that this global pandemic was going to lead to “possible Marshal Law.”
“I have no firearms license. My local police station said the whole process would take about nine months especially because of recent events. Is it possible for me to purchase a firearm in NH with a full background check?”
Information about state laws dealing with gun permits can be obtained here: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/jib/permitslicensing/plupr.html
A telephone request to the state police to get information on the call volume for its gun line was not immediately returned.