Gun experts expect a spike when gun control is discussed, but demand is already higher than ever

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office has already received almost as many gun permit applications as all of last year, when the applications were already double what they typically see.
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Gun permit applications were already in a surge, now they’re even higher.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office has already received almost as many gun permit applications this year as they did last year, when they received more than 3,500, already double what they see in a typical year.

“We just ask them to bear with us,” said Col. Chris Thomas. “We have added additional personnel, we’re doing extra fingerprinting at night up to 7:00 at night to try to close the gap for the waiting period.”

The waiting period is back to about six months, longer than usual because of COVID-19 restrictions, as well as the increasing demand for guns.

Gun experts say demand typically spikes when talk of furthering gun control comes up.

About 3,400 people in Onslow County have submitted gun permit applications since January, according to Col. Thomas. But the supply may limit what the record number of applicants may be able to purchase.

“Unfortunately, this time around, most of the ammo is not available,” said Dana Fitzpatrick, owner of Flatwoods Outfitters in Hubert. “I figured that last year most people would have already bought stuff if they were looking to buy.”

Pandemic-related setbacks have created empty shelves in Fitzpatrick’s shop. With President Biden’s executive action on gun control, Fitzpatrick would expect a surge, but he’s already seen one from the pandemic and violent protests over the summer.

“I guess the ones that were on the fence last year because of the pandemic are now off the fence,” said Fitzpatrick. “They’re worried that something like what President Biden’s attempting to do is going to come to fruition.”

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