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Firearm sales skyrocketed at a Chicago-area gun shop following COVID-19 lockdowns and crime spikes in the city.
Dan Eldridge, the owner of Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines, Illinois – located just 20 minutes outside Chicago – told Fox News that his shop had seen more than a 200% increase in firearm sales since the height of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders.
“The addresses … where people previously felt safe in their doorman building or a townhome in a good neighborhood – suddenly they didn’t, and that’s understandable,” Eldridge said.
“In uncertain times, reasonable people are going to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Eldridge told Fox News. “For a lot of people, that meant purchasing a firearm, ammunition and the training on how to use it.”
Maxon’s jump in firearm sales has coincided with Chicago’s increased violent crime rates. The city hit at least 800 homicides in 2021 – a number it hasn’t seen in 25 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Imagine yourself in your downtown condo watching the Walgreens across the street where you shop every week get looted repeatedly,” Eldridge said. “That’s awfully unsettling when all that stands between you and that mob is a glass door and probably an elderly doorman.”
“You just feel insecure, so we did see quite a bit of that,” he continued.
Eldridge’s business parsed its sales data and found sharp increases in firearm purchases among women and minorities.
According to demographics data on Maxon’s website, women buyers double from February 2020 to March 2020, up to 12%. Black buyers in March 2021 increased from 5% to 10% compared to the same month a year earlier, while Asian buyers jumped from 7% to 11%.
“In the 4th quarter of 2020, every firearm that came in the shop would be sold within days, so the sales were limited by only what we could get in,” Eldridge said. “That extended into 2021 as well, where we topped 2020 sales by just a little bit.”
Maxon has also seen an increased demand for training courses, which Eldridge believes is indicative of first-time buyers.
“It’s been an extraordinary run, and what’s most gratifying is that run has been accompanied by a huge increase in training activity,” Eldridge told Fox News. “We went from 2,700 total students in our various classes … to almost 4700 in one year.”
Maxon offers “a suite of classes, everything from basic pistol safety all the way up to concealed carry and concealed carry renewals,” he continued.
“That’s remarkably gratifying to get that kind of growth in training,” Eldridge said. “I think the training is a good marker for new participants because somebody whose been shooting for 20 years is simply not going to be taking training or is much less prone to be taking the training.”
Eldridge added that the raw sales numbers are much more significant.
“Firearm sales were up 200% from 2019 to 2020 and pretty much kept pace in 2021,” he said.
Fox News’ Isabelle McDonnell contributed to the accompanying video.