Local gun shops reporting brisk sales

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 5:04 PM EST
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BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) - Guns stores in our regions are reporting brisk sales in the wake of last week’s armed insurrection at the Capitol and ahead of the change to a Democratic-controlled administration and Congress.

Peter Hamblet hit the firing range Friday in Barre for target practice. The Marshfield man just picked up two news guns. “Your basic pump shotgun and basic .22,” Hamblet said.

Fears of new gun restrictions stemming from a political change in Washington is one reason why he points to add a few more guns to his collection, but that’s not it. “Something to keep me busy during the winter, and home defense too,” Hamblet said.

The parking lot at R&L Archery in Barre was full Friday with shoppers like Stephen Abare of Williamstown, who was also adding two more guns to his collection. “I’m here to pick up my .40 caliber pistol and my 30.06,” Abare said. “It’s not because of everything that’s going on, it’s just a fact that I could actually afford to own another one.”

He said he was relieved he got them before they were gone. “With the stuff flying off the shelves the way they are -- it’s crazy,” Abare said.

“We have the lowest inventory that I can remember... in forever,” said R&L’s Jon Sanborn. He says semi-automatic rifles are the most popular because of concerns over possible new restrictions in the upcoming Biden administration. But he says they’re selling all kinds of guns to first and repeat customers.

It comes amid concerns from law enforcement of armed protests looming this weekend following what happened at the nation’s Capitol. Sanborn says he knows people who plan to protest this weekend in Montpelier but doesn’t see a trend in sales directly because of that.

“I really don’t think we have a lot of people gearing up because of that,” he said. And he’s encouraging anyone who is attending to leave their guns at home. “I don’t see that it’s going to help the conversation to have that present. It just creates a level of tension that we don’t necessarily need for something that’s already a divisive issue.”

Back at the range, Hamblet says he hopes his right to speak out -- and bear arms -- isn’t infringed by the change in political winds in Washington. “It’s the First Amendment and the Second Amendment -- they have to stay the way they are, it’s pretty simple,” he said.

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