NEW HYDE PARK, NY — Guns flew off the racks in Nassau County in the days and weeks before the highly-anticipated 2020 general election, with multiple stores seeing massive increases in sales.
Three gun stores told Patch on Wednesday they saw large spikes in sales ahead of an election that saw a deeply divided America cast ballots for incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. That aligns with a USA Today/Suffolk University poll that found Americans increasingly feared what would happen after the election — such as whether voting would erupt into violence or whether the outcome would be widely accepted.
Three in four voters expressed concern about the possibility of violence on Election Day, the poll found. To boot, just one in four said they were "very confident" America would have a peaceful transfer of power if Biden won.
John Moutopoulos, owner of Millennium Firearms in New Hyde Park, told Patch in a phone interview Wednesday he's seen an influx of business by at least 70 percent in the weeks before the election. That's compared to the spike in sales he'd already seen due to coronavirus pandemic. Compared to the same period last year, Moutopoulos said the increase is "much more."
Millennium customers have been seeking self-defense shotguns due to fears of civil unrest and the unknown.
"With the protests, people are afraid they're going to have their homes broken into," Moutopoulos said.
That includes first-time gun owners such as a 76-year-old retired nurse and flight attendant from Franklin Square who drove to Millennium to buy a shotgun. Many of Millennium's new customers, Moutopoulos said, are from the North Shore.
Jimmy Gong, owner of Jimmy's Sport Shop in Mineola, told Patch in a phone interview Wednesday he's also seen an increase in sales. He estimated he's seen about a 20 percent uptick in sales.
"Not a lot, just a little bit," Gong said.
Like Millennium, most of those were from customers seeking self-defense weapons such as shotguns and rifles.
Similarly, Andy Chernoff, owner of Coliseum Gun Traders in Uniondale, told Patch in a phone interview Wednesday he's seen higher sales since the coronavirus pandemic started.
"Large amount," Chernoff said, declining to elaborate further. "Large. It's a lot. I'll say it that way."
He believes its due to what he called possible civil unrest. Like the other stores, Colisseum's customers were mainly interested in shotguns for home-defense, including 12- and 20-guage shotguns.
"Whatever they're comfortable handling that they can get," Chernoff said.
He added that the larger, months long surge was also fueled by a global shortage in gun parts and ammunition brought on by the pandemic.
"The inventory is sparse because COVID-19 has done a job on the factories. They don't necessarily work so well," Chernoff said.