LAFAYETE, Ind. (WLFI) — Demand is booming for guns and tactical gear following the 2020 presidential election and this week's inauguration. And stores in Lafayette are having trouble keeping pace.
Supplies at Emergency Response Gear have been flying off the shelves faster than employees can keep them stocked.
"We get it in, a lot of times they don't even get it out on the shelves, and it's gone already," says staff member Joy Rhode.
Rhode attributes the explosion of interest in firearms and other gear to the pandemic, the recent presidential transition and fears about gun control.
"There's a lot of people that are really afraid that there will be a possibility of losing their rights to bear arms," she says.
There's no evidence President Joe Biden wants to eliminate the second amendment, but he does advocate tighter gun control policies than the previous administration, according to his campaign website.
Applied Ballistics President Aaron Lorton says the gun industry is driven by politics.
"Just because you have essentially two different perspectives on it: One is regulate guns to reduce violence one is deregulate guns to reduce violence, and so you tend to see a spike in sales any time political futures are uncertain," he says.
Chad Ramsey, store manager of RamZs Emporium, says civil unrest, holiday gift-buying and tax season are also factors.
"It just seems like the perfect storm for people to want to purchase firearms and ammunition," he says.
It's not just a trend in Tippecanoe County. Federal firearm background checks in Indiana have spiked over the past five months, according to the FBI.
Background checks nationwide last year were higher than any year since at least 1998, and more of those background checks happened in December than any other month in that time frame.
Combined with shortages from COVID-19 lockdowns, stores can't seem to keep up with the huge demand.
"People say, 'Well can you just order it?'" Rhode says. "Well, we'd love to but we can't because it's not there."