Updated: March 28, 2020 08:52 PM
Created: March 28, 2020 07:41 PM
ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) –Coronavirus closures are bringing overwhelming demand for ammo at some local gun shops.
New York State shops have been labeled "non-essential" per Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” order, and many of them are shut down, though, there are some exceptions.
News10NBC spoke to the crew at AllStar Tactical in Rochester. It's one of a few stores to remain open, and they are dealing with a rise in customers.
"For the last two weeks, it's been absolutely insane," says CEO Mike Centola.
Centola says the store has sold close to 200 guns over the last two weeks, mostly shotguns. While new shipments are still coming in, he says deliveries are largely on delay.
So why the rush? Centola says that as most gun shops remain closed, his store has remained open based on contract obligations with local law enforcement. With no guarantees they can remain open to the public down the road, people are rushing in to pick up ammo and long guns.
There's so much demand that he says the shop has placed a two ammunition pack-per-customer policy.
"Everybody's running out of toilet paper, it makes you a little nervous with what they're going to do next," said Josh Campbell, a customer.
Nationally, the debate over whether a gun store should be considered essential continues to be had, with several states opting to either close or reopen some locations under stricter guidelines. In New York, there's a push from State Senator Robert Ortt (R- 62nd District) for Governor Cuomo to re-open the rest of the state's gun shops.
In the meantime, Centola says he and his staff will continue to run the business under social distancing measures and will remain open as long as they can. For new gun buyers, the shop is providing online gun safety instructions and is offering customers to put down payments on purchasing guns not yet in stock.
“We're trying to take care of everybody we can, and make sure people have the tools to protect themselves.”
Other stores around the area, such as the Firing Pit in Bergen and Kinton Guns in Victor, are operating on an appointment-only basis. Centola says he may follow suit if need be.
We reached out to the governor’s office for more insight on why certain stores can remain open, and for how long, we have not heard back. We also reached out for comment on Senator Ortt’s letter, again, we have not heard back.
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