Since fears of the Coronavirus have set in, Oregonians have been stocking up on soap, nonperishable food and a lot of toilet paper. But at the Gun Room in Southeast Portland, owner Shaun Lacasse said they're also buying so many guns the Oregon State Police background check system can't keep up.
"They're buying guns and ammunition so they can go home and sit on their couch and defend their stash of toilet paper from the pending apocalypse."
Normally a background check to buy a firearm takes about 10 minutes. Oregon State Police said they don't have updated numbers for how many background checks they've run this past week. But according to multiple gun stores, the wait time for a background check was up to two hours. Other times, the computer system simply didn't work.
"I've been here my whole life doing this," said Lacasse, whose father opened the store in 1965. "I'm 52 years old, I grew up behind this counter. I've never seen anything like yesterday."
Most of the crowd, he said, were first-time buyers. And more than a few were nurses and doctors.
Asked what he thought people were scared of, Lacasse answered half joking, "Everything. They're buying guns and ammunition so they can go home and sit on their couch and defend their stash of toilet paper from the pending apocalypse. And most of them are saying they're gonna go hit the liquor store when they're done getting their guns."
Ultimately, Lacasse said, most of the people are buying weapons to feel better in uncertain times.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.