‘A sense of security’: Handgun sales, permits soar in 2020

'Sense of security’: Handgun sales, permits soar in 2020

CHARLOTTE — Handgun sales and firearm permits have soared this year as COVID-19 continues to run rampant and social unrest heightens.

“I think it’s a sense of security,” said Vincent Pride, a first-time gun buyer.

Pride is hardly alone.

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Channel 9 crime reporter Mark Becker discovered an increase in handgun permit applications in at least four counties, including Mecklenburg, Iredell, Gaston and Union. In North Carolina, a permit is required to buy a handgun.

Scott Farb, store manager at Beltway Gun and Pawn in Matthews, said he noticed a spike in sales at the beginning of the quarantine.

“When people were hoarding toilet paper and other things, we started to see a lot of people coming in to buy handguns,” he said.

The jump in permits and handgun sales comes as violent crime is spiraling out of control, however.

In Charlotte, there have been more than 100 homicides in 2020.

That has Lisa Crawford, from the group Mothers of Murdered Offspring, concerned. She’s worried that many of the guns being purchased are ending up in the wrong hands.

“It’s unconscionable to me that we think that it’s OK that we run and get guns, and then we’re not good gun owners. We don’t put them up. We don’t protect them,” she said.

Pride said it’s not the gun but what you do with it that matters.

“It’s about responsibility. Once you have that responsibility and understand that you’re not doing it for a sense of violence, but for a sense of security, I’m all for it,” he said.

The number of gun purchase permit applications by county:

Mecklenburg County

  • 2020 – 30,837
  • 2019 – 14,595
  • 2018 – 13,899

2020 Monthly Totals:

  • January – 1,773
  • February – 1,790
  • March – 4,899
  • April – 3,372
  • May – 4,094
  • June – 6,425
  • July – 5,145
  • August – 3,338
  • September – 2,999
  • October – 5,257

Gaston County

  • 2020 – 5,782
  • 2019 – 3,176
  • 2018 – 3,073

2020 Monthly Totals:

  • January – 405
  • February – 346
  • March – 747
  • April – 506
  • May – 562
  • June – 1,054
  • July – 1,003
  • August – 681
  • September – 478

Iredell County

  • 2020 – 6,654
  • 2019 – 3,628
  • 2018 – 3,419

2020 Monthly Totals:

  • January – 434
  • February – 269
  • March – 832
  • April – 665
  • May – 553
  • June – 1,355
  • July – 979
  • August – 841
  • September – 726

Union County

  • 2020 – 7,527
  • 2019 – 3,284
  • 2018 – 3,011

2020 Monthly Totals:

  • January – 332
  • February – 365
  • March – 1,039
  • April – 619
  • May – 628
  • June – 1,402
  • July – 1,023
  • August – 682
  • September – 717
  • October – 663
  • November – 57
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