ST. LOUIS ( -- First it was toilet paper, now it's gun ammunition flying off the shelves of stores across the St. Louis Metro area.

“We can’t even buy ammunition,” Dacia Betts said.

Betts and Martez Stephenson are co-owners of G5 Security. They told News 4 they’ve noticed an increase in customers at local gun stores and ranges.

“We’ve been purchasing ammunition and going to the range, but we really noticed a big difference when we went to one of the larger chain stores and the shelves were empty,” Betts said.

St. Louis gun store owners say the demand for ammunition has gone up since the coronavirus outbreak started impacting Americans.

Data shows sales have increased by 300% nationwide.

At Mid-American arms ,they’re limiting ammunition sales to just two boxes per person.

“The gun store put a sign up and listed all the top notch ammo for the big guns and they’re out of stock,” Stephenson said.

Shoppers say this increase is out of fear and protection during this virus outbreak.

“It makes you think protection,” Stephenson said.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department announced Wednesday they’re limiting in-person calls for their officers while dealing with COVID-19 by not responding to nonviolent crimes like break-in’s and larcenies, and rather taking the reports over the phone.

“People feel the need to protect themselves,” Betts said.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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