BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The year 2020 has been one of uncertainty for many, from a global pandemic to deepening political division, and many Americans are now feeling unsafe.
Around Central Oregon, that has meant a large increase in gun sales.
Area retailers tell us that many who have never owned a gun before are now looking to buy them.
I headed on Monday to the Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association (COSSA) gun range east of Bend, where Bill Lewis said that in Central Oregon, many of those new gun owners are now showing up for lessons.
"We have seen an increase, because of the pandemic and because of the things that are going on in bigger cities," he said. "We've seen an influx of people that want to learn."
Numbers from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office also point to more people with self-protection on their minds.
The agency said it received 276 applications for concealed permits in August of 2019. This August, the number jumped to 431, meaning the sheriff's office saw about a 56% increase from a year ago.
The agency said that in order to process the larger number of applications, it's had to more than double the number of daily appointments, from 12 to 28.
Jake Floyd, the owner of Jake's Long Range Customs in Prineville, said that while he hasn’t seen quite the uptick of conventional gun stores, as a gunsmith he's still getting orders from many who tell him they feel angst about the state's and country’s unrest.
Jake gave an example on how some people are going all-in.
“Just the other day, a gun (owner) showed up on my front door. I get a call from a gentleman saying, 'Hey, I ordered a gun. He comes in -- it was an M82A1 .50(-caliber) BMG (rifle), and I was talking to the guy -- and it was his first gun he ever owned."