WESTFIELD, Ind. – At Tim’s Shooting Academy in Westfield, sales are high and right now inventory is low.
“This is all I have left,” owner Tim Tomich said while pointing to a near-empty shelf of ammo. “Notice I have no .45. This is all the 9mm I have left right now.”
Tomich can barely keep ammo in stock, and his suppliers have a hard time keeping up. He set a limit of one box per person after people were buying up hundreds of dollars in ammo in one purchase.
Shotguns are also hard to find, as customers rush in.
“It has been hectic,” Tomich said. “We have been selling anything and everything in sight.”
Every time someone buys a gun, a background check is submitted to the FBI. June set a new one-month record with nearly 4 million checks, breaking the previous record of 3.7 million set in March.
Of the top ten weeks with the most background checks in FBI history, seven are from 2020. The FBI data goes back to 1998.
“Everyone that comes in are all saying the same thing. They’re starting to get scared,” Tomich said.
Most customers tell Tomich it’s for home defense. He thinks the combination of a pandemic, riots and even Indy’s rising homicide numbers are causing people to stock up.
“We always panic,” Tomich said. “What’s the old adage? Kill a fly with a sledgehammer? That’s what’s happening right now.”
Tomich is also booked on lessons for weeks in advance. His most common customers have become older people buying a gun for the first time.
“It’s sad when a 74-year-old lady comes in and ,you know, she’s your grandma, and she’s scared,” Tomich said. “That’s what hurts me the most.”
As Tomich tries to restock, he’s hoping these new gun owners also take the time to learn how to safely use one.
“God forbid you’re ever put in a place where you have to protect yourself. It won’t do you any good if you don’t know how.”