gun store business booming

A line forms outside Starquest Shooters on Concord Pike in Talleyville.

The consumer demand for guns and ammunition may not rival the frenzy to find toilet paper or hand sanitizer. 

However, the firearms market in Delaware has been brisk.

Wednesday morning, nearly all of the parking spaces were filled at one point at a firearms store on Route 13 near New Castle. Customers were allowed in about five at a time. 

Some of the patrons wore masks. Employees wore gloves.

A store employee who did not want to be named told WDEL that it was enforcing social distancing guidelines and taking extra steps to clean and disinfect store counters and handled merchandise.

People, including a significant number of first-timers, have been coming in because they are concerned. 

"I think that people are wary of what's going on," Delaware State Sportsmen's Association President Jeff Hague said. 

Hague added that the volume of purchasers has slowed down the background check system for transactions in some cases, but safety is not being compromised. 

"The background check system is operating. Nobody is slipping through the cracks because of this," Hague said. "It's doing what it's supposed to do."

Tuesday, a ban on non-essential business operations took effect under Governor John Carney's amendment to the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Gun shops would fall under the sporting goods category, which are deemed non-essential. 

However, Hague said there is a mix of shops being closed or opened and there is currently some confusion.

One firearms store on Concord Pike was ordered to cease and desist Tuesday night. The DSSA posted on its website that it was considering legal action to reverse the order and to keep other orders from being served.

Hague said while he is not an attorney, he believed that ordering a gun store to shut down could be a violation of provisions of the Delaware Constitution (Article 1, Section 20), as well as not be in compliance with the Second Amendment.

"If somebody wishes to exercise their constitutional right to protect their home, self and family by purchasing a firearm but the governor's office orders gun shops to be non-essential, that prohibits them from exercising that right to protect themselves," Hague said.

"You are your first line of defense in your home."