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Coronavirus In Colorado Prompts Run On Guns, Ammunition

DENVER (CBS4)- In addition to toilet paper and hand sanitizer, thousands of Coloradans are also falling in line with the national trend of stocking up on guns. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says it received requests for 14,600 background checks last week alone. That's nearly double what it saw a year ago this time.

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"It's been nonstop," said Josh Barton, owner of DCF Guns in Castle Rock.

He says business is up 300% in the last week. He hasn't seen such demand since the 2013, when the state legislature passed new gun control laws, but unlike then, he says many of the people buying now have never owned a gun before.

"I just want something small, a little gun," said Bonnie Brown.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

She never thought she would need a gun, she says, until COVID-19.

It changed everything, including her concern for safety, "Just to protect what we do have because things are going to get crazy."

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Barton says the run on guns has caused a bottleneck in background checks at the CBI.

He says the typical turnaround time is 20 minutes, "Now we're telling people three days before we get it back."

In an effort to address the surge, CBI says it is expanding its hours of operation and cross-training staff to assist with processing background checks.

As for inventory, Barton says some shops have run out of ammunition. He's rationed it to five boxes per customer but, he says, he saw the rush coming.

"When it started a month ago, we had stocked-up because we expected something like this to happen, but to this extent, not necessarily."

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DCF not only sells guns and ammunition, it offers training. Barton says most of the new gun owners are signing up for that training and many are applying for concealed carry permits.

"Most of them are talking about being able to protect themselves. We are selling some rifles and shotguns but most people are buying handguns."

Brown hopes she doesn't need a gun, but says when people are fighting over toilet paper, she wants to be prepared.

"The mentality of some people can be desperate and crazy... you never know what's going to happen."

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