MANASSAS, Va. — Gun sales in Virginia skyrocketed in March compared to last year, according to Virginia State Police data.
Data collected as part of VSP's Firearms Transactions Program show a 75% increase in transactions in March, as compared to March 2019.
Owner of Dominion Arms in Manassass, Martin Orenge, said he's seen that trend reflected in his store.
"Right when this started, about the middle of March, it just went crazy," Orenge said. "I mean, I sold every gun I had in the shop in four days. It was ridiculous."
Orenge said those sales amounted to more than 100 guns he had in stock at the time. Typically, he said he sells 25 firearms a week.
"What I do get in… usually, it’s gone within a day," Orenge said.
Virginia State Police reported 80,228 firearm transactions with federally-licensed gun dealers in March 2020, compared to 45,826 transactions in March 2019.
The transactions reported in the program reflect requests for background checks. VSP said dealers are only required to request one check per person. So, the true number of gun sales could be higher.
Police said this past month's transactions also set a record for the highest number since the program began in 1989.
Orenge said when it comes to his gun sales, he noticed a trend in the reasons buyers have been coming in.
"They’re mostly worried, to protect their family," he said. "I probably had 50 first time gun buyers come in. Out of those 50, probably 25 of them were primary anti-gun people. Now, they worry enough for their family, they want to have one."
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Orenge said he is also worried about his health as he makes these sales. To keep himself and customers safe, he has started limiting buyers to one person at a time in the store.
"It was crazy before," he said. "People weren’t taking it very seriously. I’d have sometimes 20 people at a time standing in here."
He said the coronavirus pandemic has presented new challenges for everyone. Orenge's biggest one now is keeping up with nonstop orders.
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