Houstonians flock to gun stores amid COVID-19 outbreak

As Houstonians crammed into stores this week to gather supplies they would need to help prevent coronavirus, the demand for firearms and ammunition has also been on the rise.

Officials have been warning the public to not panic and to follow the guidelines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, but that isn’t stopping residents from taking matters into their hands and pushing gun sales through the roof.

“It’s just going on and on. We probably sold 8,000 9mm rounds this week. I would’ve sold 80,000 if I would’ve had them," Gordon Taylor of Black Gold Guns and Ammo tells FOX 26. "You know the ammo is exactly like the toilet paper, you know people are just buying it they don’t know if they’re ever going to, you know. You’re going to need the toilet paper one day, you may never need the bullets, not unless you’re going to go to a target range.”

Taylor says business usually goes up following a mass shooting, but since last Friday, it’s been non-stop with 90 to 95 percent of his customers being new gun buyers like Matthew Schnitzer. 

“I don’t hunt, and you know generally I like to think the best of people, and believe I’ll be fine without it, and now it’s just kind of I’d rather have it if it comes to it with the unknown of this, and maybe unemployment rises and who knows what happens. So I figured now it’s just better to be safe than sorry," he said.

MORE: Follow the latest COVID-19 cases in the Houston area

Gun owners coming into the shop and calling in, are disappointed to learn there’s no ammo left.

“Pretty much just law-enforcement. I’ve got what they call snake shots. They got little tiny pellets in it this isn’t really a self-defense round. People aren’t buying this. The hollow points, the ball ammunition, and the full metal jackets, I’ve sold out of every bit of it,” said Taylor, who also says sales have been exceptional because his customers fear what could happen if this pandemic gets out of hand.

He claims it usually takes 15 minutes to complete a background check to purchase a firearm, but this week it has taken as long as three hours to complete.