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Gun and ammunition sales up in Alberta amid COVID-19 pandemic
CALGARY -- While many Albertans are stocking up on essentials like medication and groceries, some gun owners are also stocking up on ammunition.
Retailers in Calgary say business has been booming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We’re seeing anywhere between a 25 to 35 per cent increase," said J.R. Cox, owner of The Shooting Edge in Calgary.
"They are buying shotguns, they are buying ammunition. We’re selling a lot of ammunition. We’ve seen an uptick in a few handgun sales."
But Cox says the sales bump in Alberta has been nothing compared to the long lines and panic buying some retailers in the United States have experienced.
"It’s not like places in the United States where some people who’ve never owned a firearm before are going 'Oh my god, the sky is falling. I need to get a gun to protect my family'," explained Cox. "That’s not happening here."
Cox points out that Canadians who own guns are required to have a valid firearms license obtained through the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program.
He says buyers in Alberta are making sure they have enough ammunition to last several months because about 80 per cent of Canadian supply comes from the U.S.
At the Calgary Shooting Centre, president James Bachynsky says there’s also been an increase in customers buying rifles and ammunition.
"We’re doing a lot of our sales online and even shipping to addresses in Calgary," said Bachynsky.
The Shooting Centre has also seen a jump in the number of people wanting to go through their firearms training to apply for a license, but they’ve stopped training and applications are backed up by three-to-six months.
Cox says some of his shelves are a little more picked over than usual, but his store is receiving shipments every couple of days and there’s no need to panic buy in Alberta.
As of 2018, there were 314,816 Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PAL) issued in Alberta. More than 2.1 million firearms licenses were issued across the Canada, according to the RCMP’s annual report.