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People line up at gun stores to stock up


Ralph Charette, 71, said he bought a rifle and ammunition on Saturday to protect himself and his family as a wave of coronavirus panic sweeps across the country.

Charette, a military veteran, spent $1,500 at a gun shop in Germantown, Wisconsin, after encountering aggressive shoppers and empty shelves at local grocery stores.

Now, if looters come knocking, he’ll be ready, he said. 

“There’s so much uncertainty and paranoia but you’ve got to protect your own,” Charette said.

Charette is among a growing wave of Americans who are going to retailers, pawnshops and online to purchase guns and ammunition in the wake of COVID-19, which had killed more than 60 people in the U.S. as of Saturday afternoon. 

As hysteria surrounding the illness drives some to stockpile groceries and toilet paper in case they’re quarantined, it’s also causing many to worry about a shortage of gun supplies, which is driving up demand and leading to long lines at suppliers. 

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Lengthy lines formed outside the Martin Retting Guns store in Culver City, California, on Sunday morning, before the store opened. People said the line Saturday was so long, extending around the block, so they decided to come back and try again.

Line outside the Turner’s Outdoorsman store

Many said they were looking for extra protection, primarily ammo, in case the virus shuts down most businesses.

The trend continued outside Turner’s Outdoorsman store in Torrance, California, before opening. 

“People are scared,” said Drew Plotkin of Los Angeles. “There’s a lot of panic in the world and people want to be protected for the worst-case scenario.”

In New Castle, Delaware, Emily Ken, 22, bought ammunition this weekend for her 9mm handgun before “doomsday preppers” could buy up all the supply, she said. 



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