Sales of survival gear, guns, ammo spike amid coronavirus fears

Face masks, disinfectant and paper products are not the only items flying off retailer shelves, sales of survival gear like ready-to-eat meals, guns and ammunition have increased as consumers get ready to deal with the spreading coronavirus.

A California military supply store can’t keep enough military field rations -- known as MRE or meals ready to eat -- medical kits and food-grade storage bins in stock.

"We're bringing pallets (of MREs) up all the time now, and even our supplier in Southern California is having trouble keeping them in stock," Raymond Prather, owner of Victory Stores in Vallejo, California, told KTVU.

Gun stores across the country are also selling more firearms and ammunition.

Widener’s Reloading and Shooting Supply, an online retailer, sold twice as much ammo Feb. 23-25 this year than last year.

"It's clear our customers want to be prepared in a worst-case scenario," Jacob Long, of Widener's, told the American Rifleman, a publication for the National Rifle Assocation. "For a lot of our families, a disaster plan includes having ammo on hand."

Gun retailers are also seeing a surge in sales.

"We have seen a distinct increase in both handgun and rifle ammunition in the past few months," Danny Garcia, manager of Money Quick Pawn and Guns in Fayetteville, North Carolina, told the American Rifleman. "February was a record sales month… . Talking with our customers we are hearing the increase is due to both the prospect of a coronavirus outbreak and the pending elections."

Gun and ammunition sales in California are five times above normal, KTVU reported.

"I've sold 12 handguns in two hours," said Gabriel Vaughn, owner of the Sportman's Arms in Petaluma, told KTVU. "Any time people are uneasy, sales go up, and it's always the same, guns and ammo."

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