GLASSBORO N.J. - Gun sales are soaring throughout the country and especially in the Delaware Valley. Some say women make up a huge chunk of new owners.
At Bob’s Little Sport Shop in Glassboro New Jersey, gun sales are booming.
"It has been kind of insane for the last year," owner Wayne Viden said. "We are doing between 20-50 background checks a day. On a normal year this time a year, if we did 5-12 that was a good day."
Viden’s business took off last February at the start of the pandemic.
"When they started talking about locking people down, closing businesses, closing schools, people started getting afraid," Viden explained.
Wayne says fear is fueling the upswing in sales. Sandy is at the shop to learn how to use a gun for the first time.
"I have never picked up a gun in my life and I am 70-years-old. The world is changing and I have to change with it," Sandy explained.
Many people come to Bob’s to take lessons. Dave Ollivier is an experienced firearms instructor, a former Marine and former police officer. He started teaching after interest from a post on his Facebook page.
"I want people to get comfortable enough with their gun so that they can use it in a home defense type situation," Dave said. "A lot of people are going out and buying guns. I put in my post that if you are one of those people that went out and bought a gun and it is now in your basement wrapped in a Kmart bag under the lawn chairs, you might want to reach out to me because that is not really where you want the gun."
In order for Sandy to purchase a gun from a federal licensed dealer in New Jersey, like Bob’s, the gun shop will do a state and federal background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (N.I.C.S). An official government website, the FBI has been running statistics through the site since 1998. According to their data, over 12.5 million checks have been done in 2021 across the country, which represents 35 percent increase over this time last year.
Over in Pennsylvania, women are filling classrooms and many are using a gun for the first time. Erinn O’Donnell is head of the Girl and a Gun Montgomery County Chapter and teaches the class. "I teach every week. It pretty much is my full-time job. It is how I pay my bills," she said.
"Number one, I think people who don’t like guns are afraid of them. They are fearful they only know bad things with guns. But there is so much more. I look at it as a tool. It is just another tool for the toolbox," Erinn added.
Erinn says women have the tendency to be more patient and soft spoken with students.
"It is a completely different environment when it is women teaching women. I have women say that they would not step in this building if it wasn’t for you. I never would have picked up a gun if it wasn’t for the women teaching women thing," she commented.
Tivona brought her fifteen-year-old daughter to class. The experience has brought them together.
"At first, I didn’t want to go. She was just being her regular self. She is always making me go somewhere with her. But we went the first time and she dragged me here. I kind of liked it," Tivona’s daughter explained.
Tivona went on to say, "You know how teenagers are. It is like pulling teeth with them. I think when you have similar interests it is so much better to start a conversation. I think personally it has been much better between us."
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