MACON, Ill. (WAND) – The number of people purchasing guns has increased drastically in the last year.

For some dealers, they can not keep supplies on store shelves.

"The last three days have been chaos around here in keeping up with the guns we are selling," Dan Cooley, owner of Macon’s The Bullet Trap, said.

Cooley said customers are buying a variety of guns, and when what they want is out of stock, they are buying what is.

“The inventory has always been there,” he said. “We've always been able to get firearms when we wanted, what wanted. The high demanded items we would have to wait on, but I never thought I would see a shortage like we have now. It is for the most part pretty well dried up. The demand is huge."

Cooley said a year of uncertainty with COVID-19, new incoming leadership in Washington, and possible changes to the rights of law enforcement in Illinois is driving up the demand. Illinois law makers are debating House Bill 163. If approved, it would end cash bail, expand police training, require body cameras for all law enforcement and would require police misconduct records.

"People are concerned about that,” Cooley said. “They feel that their safety is at risk and they want some way to defend themselves if push comes to shove but the reality is it very well could happen."

In a year already dealing with an ammo shortage, a gun shortage is the last thing Cooley wants to deal with.

"We're looking a diminishing returns here,” Cooley said. "We can't go on like this forever. The shortage is not getting any better."

The Bullet Trap said most of the recent sales are first time gun owners. Cooley said of those, a good portion are elderly folks looking for home protection.

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