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Local gun shop owner says firearm sales have spiked during pandemic

The Kershaw County Sheriff took to Facebook to address what he said has been a spike in gun sales recently.

KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — The Kershaw County Sheriff took to Facebook to address what he said has been a spike in gun sales recently. 

He also shared a message to new gun owners.He wants them to make sure they understand how to use their firearms properly.


"We are literally running about five times over our usual businesses," The Gun Vault Owner Brad O'Neal said.

O'Neal said they've been unusually busy over the past several weeks and not shoppers all are repeat customers.

"60 percent of this increase is first time buyers," O'Neal said.

According to officials with The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, they often see seasonal spikes in firearm sales and said it is not uncommon to see an increase in firearm sales because of political or social events.

Nationally, compared to this time last year, in March there were roughly 2.6 million firearm background checks according to the FBI and this year it has increased to nearly 3.7 million that were completed.

Credit: FBI

"I do a lot of shooting myself and I started noticing that ammunition started getting real scarce," Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan said. "From talking to people at gun stores and ranges, they are seeing a lot more people and a lot of new gun owners who have never owned a gun in their life."

Boan said he is concerned with so many new gun owners only because he wants to make sure that they are fully trained.

"New gun owners need to know the basic safety with their guns, know how to operate them," Boan said.

Meanwhile gun sales might be up, Boan said crime rates in Kershaw County are currently down,  and he hopes it continues to stay that way.

RELATED: South Carolina's home or work order now in effect: here's what it does

Gun shops are allowed to stay open and considered an essential business. Governor Henry McMaster said the state should also not infringe on the second amendment. 

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