BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Co-owner of Hoover Tactical Firearm, Gene Smith, said the store has been crowded with customers since the day after riots at the U.S. Capitol.
“Between Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,” Smith said. “We’ll probably do over $100,000. That is very a-typical. Usually on a weekday, we will do $15,000 on a good day. $18,000 - $20,000 on a Saturday on a good day. We are probably going to do $45,000 just this Saturday.”
Smith said since the pandemic, the shop has seen a 35% increase in sales. He said sales usually go up during civil unrest and political events.
“People are reacting to their fears and concerns,” Smith said. “People are getting out and buying. Some of them have never owned a gun in their life and now they seem almost anxious to have one in their home, just in case.”
Smith said he thought it would be a busy weekend after seeing riots at the U.S. Capitol building on television.
“People are worried,” he said. “They are not only worried about the government, but they are also worried about crime in their community.”
Smith says more people being at home during the pandemic is another reason he thinks sales are up.
“They are home a lot more,” Smith said. “Maybe they are seeing traffic that they don’t understand going on in front of their neighborhood or in front of their home. It very well could be the neighbor down the street, but they haven’t really been home to pay attention until the pandemic hit. People are becoming very untrusting of everything and everybody.”
Smith said sales are high across the country and it’s impacting ammunition and gun supply.
“Guns are starting to be scarce from the wholesalers and the manufacturers,” Smith said. “People bought at a much larger pace than what had been anticipated at the end of last year.”
“We got people who are first time gun owners to people who have owned guns all their lives that have been in here, even today.”
Smith said no matter the customer, gun training is a priority.
“I encourage people to seek out somewhere and take a couple of classes and then practice,” Smith said. “Whether it be at our range or an outdoor range or another range.”
Smith said about 40 % of his business can depend on what is going on nationally.
“I like the attention, but I don’t like the issues that created the attention towards firearms,” Smith said. “I think some people are overreacting and some people are just simply reacting.”
Smith said he gives customers a free practice session in the shooting range to help try and promote educated gun ownership.