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'Scared Of Civil Unrest': South Florida Gun Shop Sees Major Jump In Sales To First-Time Firearm Owners

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Walk into any gun store and owners are singing the same tune – firearm sales are up.

Some shops have seen 2% to 3% increases since the pandemic. Others as much as 10%.

"Yeah, I've seen a big uptick in AR-15s. Anybody who doesn't have one wants to get one now. And the people who already have them just for target [shooting] are buying three or four more just to have them," said Roy Gosley.

Gosley owns the Bill Boyd Tackle and Gun Shop in Fort Lauderdale. His sales have been nonstop and he's experiencing the "gun barrel peril" of supply and demand.

"It's really hard to sell things when you don't have them," Gosley said "And when you do get them, they tend to leave the shop faster than you could possibly replace it."

His cases of ammunition are once again stocked. Six months ago rounds of ammunition were really difficult to come by.

And now, a new phenomenon. Many gun purchasers are "loaded rod" rookies.

Gosley said, "Approximately, what we're seeing is about 50% of all gun sales these days are first-time gun owners."

"We saw at least, from documented cases, over 20-million guns more sold last year than the year before," said Dr. Alex Piquero the criminologist chair at the University of Miami's Department of Sociology and Criminology.

He studies this data.

According to the FBI, background checks for firearms were up 31% in the first four months of 2021.

statistics from the Florida Department of Agriculture shows initial or new applications for concealed weapons in Miami-Dade almost tripled from July of last year to more than 17,000.

Broward County also saw more than 17,000 applications

"A lot of people were scared," said Piquero. "So you had an increase in first time buyers who were panicking. Just like other people who went to big box stores and bought rolls of toilet paper and canned chicken, they bought guns."

In a time of a pandemic that saw riots and demonstrations going sideways, it made for a recipe of people wanting protection.

And now add the fact "beefs" are no longer settled with pushing and shoving, or a fight at worst.

"Now kids are shooting to solve the problems right here right now. They aren't thinking about tomorrow. They're not thinking about being my age or your age. They're thinking about right here, right now, and how much I can show you up," Piquero said.

It's the minute few who intend to use a weapon in public, or cause carnage like at a hookah lounge in Kendall or the El Mula Banquet Hall.

Most first time gun owners are about one thing.

Gosley said, "They're just scared of civil unrest, or if something does happen, they're prepared."

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