Gun sales continue to rise in South Dakota

The city of Flint destroyed 384 guns rather than auction them.
The city of Flint destroyed 384 guns rather than auction them.(source: City of Flint)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 2:30 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA) - Retailers across the country are seeing an uptick in gun sales. Many in South Dakota say those who are looking to purchase a gun, are first-time buyers.

Uncertain political times haves often increased demand for more guns, but those who sell firearms for a living say they are seeing something like they never have before.

Coronavirus, elections, civil unrest, they have all contributed to the current political climate. Nevertheless, Teton River Traders gun shop owner Matthew Harens says they are also contributing to more traffic through his doors.

“Its not fear of losing their guns, its actual fear of bodily harm.” Harens said.

Harens says the people coming to him for both guns and advice aren’t the ones who typically come into this shop.

“There is definitely an uptick mostly in new fire arm buyers... i just see more fear than I’m used to, that is just not what I’m used to.”

States across the union are reporting the same phenomenon, with the Associated Press recently reporting that Minnesota had 35,000 background checks for gun purchase in August 2020 up more than 13,000 from August 2019.

The numbers are also climbing in South Dakota. The Secretary of State’s office reported a marginal jump in the number of active pistol permits in the state.

"There is an increase in permits... a 25% increase in June, again in July a 31% and in August an 8% increase... and I don’t have October, November, December yet.” said South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett.

With so many new people considering the idea of gun ownership, Harens hopes that they take the training and safety measures seriously.

“Find someone to at least run you through the basic safety part of it, and find some gun that you can load and unload... and those are the first two things you need to be able to find to make it safe.”