Southern Illinois gun shop owners adapt to changes amid coronavirus

Gun sellers adapt to changes

MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - While gun shops in Illinois are deemed essential, two gun shops owners in Marion are still feeling the impact of the pandemic.

Tombstone Gun Range and Training Center’s owner Dave Kemp sits inside his business answering calls from customers. Despite the rise in Coronavirus numbers, Kemp said he is still seeing plenty of customers.

“Sales of the guns have been up,” Kemp said. However, the business is facing restrictions.

They’ve changed their hours and they limit the number of people inside the business along with the six-feet social distancing rules.

“We’ve had to curtail all of our in person training and classes. So Illinois conceal carry classes, private training, firearms training had been cut back so that we can social distance and do all the things we need to do prevent a bunch of people meeting up together in one at the same time,” Kemp said.

Inside his shop Kemp has made visible changes. There’s yellow caution tape to separate the room in order to keep customers from getting too close to each other and to keep them from socializing.

“At a shop like ours, we might not have one or two people in here at any given time,” he said.

Right up the road is another gun shop owner, Paul Smith with Pro Gun & Indoor Range, who’s also seeing an impact in his sales.

“The first two weeks, it was good, great gun sales," said Smith. "Everybody was buying like crazy because they were at home or they knew they were going to be confined and they want to make sure they had home protection.”

Kemp wonders how long these changes will last.

“We will have to see wait to see in the future how much longer this goes on," he said. "I think for the short term, gun sales will be very steady and on the rise as this continues.”

In the month of march, the FBI reported more than 3 million firearms background checks.

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