INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Gun sales are up in Missouri, but higher than you might expect.
Bass Pro Shops in Independence is planning to move to only selling guns within the next two days for the remainder of the stay-at-home order. Based on new numbers from NCIS about background checks, it’s not hard to see why ammo is hard to come by.
“I think the firearm and the ammo sales are important,” shopper Bill Thomas said.
Jackson County said on Monday they issued a letter of non-compliance for the store. The business and county worked together and agreed to allow the store to remain open, but restrict sales.
Some customers believe the business is essential beyond firearms.
“They sell camping equipment and fishing equipment,” shopper Christopher Stiggers said. “I mean, you have some people that don’t live in the inner city. They live in the rural areas outside of here. Maybe they need to fish or hunt for food, so yeah, it should be open.”
Guns are a hot commodity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the month of March, NCIS reports nearly 25,000 more background checks than last year. In March of 2019, Missouri had 51,487 background checks for the sale of firearms. Last month, that number ballooned to 76,262.
“It’s easy to get the shotgun shells right now, but I’m having trouble finding the ammo,” Thomas said.
“I came to Bass Pro Shop, but they were out. They were out of .38’s and .40 calibers,” shopper Henry Thompson said.
For hunting or protection, shopper say the need is essential.
“I think once money gets short we don’t know what’s going to happen with people,” Thomas said. “We’re having trouble getting basic household supplies right now.”
“I mean, it’s something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, but I’m just going with the punches,” Stiggers said.
The store remains open during their regular hours; however, they are only allowing 50 people inside at one time. Starting Saturday, shoppers should only be able to go into the gun and ammo section of the shop.
FOX4 reached out to Bass Pro Shops for a statement on their agreement with the county, but have not received a response at the time of this article. We will post an update when we receive one.