A menacing sign has emerged outside a gun shop in the US ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this week.
While Donald Trump spends his last few days in the top job, people have rushed to gun stores across the country with the demand for firearms and ammunition soaring as thousands of National Guard troops descend on Washington.
Gun safety instructor Stephen Gutowski posted a photo of a sign at his local gun shop in Virginia on Twitter, revealing strict purchasing limits for customers.
The sign says there are “ammo restrictions” and are only available to buy with the purchase of selected firearms.
“There are still lines outside my local gun shop. And they still have basically no ammo available,” Mr Gutowski wrote.
“Demand here, at least, remains through the roof.”
Gun shops began to see a demand earlier this month after Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building in Washington DC in a riot that left five people dead.
This store, All Shooters Tactical in Woodbridge, Virginia, didn't have a single pump-action shotgun available for sale (though they had other guns available). Sharpshooters up the road in Lorton, Virginia had a handful ofpump-actions. pic.twitter.com/earGg9rzld
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) January 17, 2021
In Alabama, gun shops claim they have been struggling to meet the demand from customers since the riots at the capitol.
“I’d say demand has gone up 1000 per cent. Not 100 per cent, not 500 per cent, but 1000 per cent,” owner of Gold Mine Pawn Shop Tom Hand told Birmingham News.
“If I had a shipload of ammo, I could have sold every bit of it.”
People’s fear ‘driving gun sales’
Owner of Murphree’s Guns in the US state of Tennessee, Randal Murphree, told Birmingham News demand started to skyrocket at the beginning of last year.
“The pandemic started it, and then the hemming and hawing in politics made it worse, and what happened [at the Capitol] made it worse too,” he said.
“I think people are afraid.”
Joe Phillips, who owns a gun store in Alabama, agreed demand had increased since the Capitol riot and said people’s fear was driving sales.
“A lot of people, they’re buying it not so much because of the tax [of the new administration], but because they think something’s coming,” he told Birmingham News.
“People believe something big is going to happen, whether it be a bigger Ruby Ridge ... civil war or civil uprising.
“People believe something’s gonna come where they need guns or ammo.”
The demand in gun and ammunition sales comes just three months after Walmart planned to remove the products from sales floors ahead of the US election.
Walmart said it had removed firearms and ammunition from displays at its stores, citing “civil unrest” in some areas in October, but then backflipped on its decision and returned them to shelves before the election.
Washington on edge – eerie scenes ahead of inauguration
Washington is on edge ahead of Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States. The sound of beeping forklifts unloading fencing resonates around the city as parts of it are put into lockdown.
In what have been described as “eerie scenes”, the city has been largely absent of the cars, scooters and tourists that usually flow through downtown DC.
Roads surrounding the Capitol building have been closed, with journalists on the ground sharing Google Maps images showing the red road blocks that blanket the city.
A sampling of pre-inauguration road closures in effect in Washington DC right now. pic.twitter.com/pKG6YIg05k
— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) January 14, 2021
Some businesses said they would shut down this week, and the city's public transportation agency said it was closing certain metro stations and re-routing bus lines from Friday through to January 21, the day after the inauguration.
The number of National Guard troops coming to Washington to assist with security has so far grown to about 21,000.
Astoundingly, officials have said the number could grow as law enforcement agencies review the ongoing threats.
“Clearly we are in uncharted waters,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
National Guard members operate under strict rules of engagement on the use of force. But generally speaking, troops can use lethal force to protect the lives of others and themselves.
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