LOS ANGELES - Gun sales are up nationwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including among women.
At Ade’s Gun Shop in Orange County, owner Emily Atkinson can’t keep up with demand – she's seeing a run on guns during this pandemic, similar to the run on toilet paper.
"We would put 20 guns out and they would be sold in three hours," Atkinson said. "We were doing in two weeks what we would do in a quarter."
"Every single person coming in are first time buyers... mostly women," she added.
In California this year, 43% of gun buyers are first-time gun owners.
"With COVID and everything that’s going on, you start feeling a little vulnerable and I thought 'I want to feel I could protect myself' if I needed to," said first-time gun owner Susan Morehead.
Like Morehead, nurse Linda Jefferson lives alone. She bought two guns during this pandemic.
"I actually bought my shotgun from here — the big baby. With all the looting and things going on, I was afraid they may come into my home," said Jefferson. "It makes me feel independent, it makes me feel safe, it makes me feel secure, I don’t feel as vulnerable and helpless anymore."
Both women said that buying from Atkinson and a woman-owned gun shop, made them feel more at ease. She helped them navigate the test to get a firearm safety card and then after the 10-day waiting period for a background check, the gun was theirs.
"She catered to our specific needs," Jefferson explained. "She makes sure we learn everything about the firearm: She makes sure we know how to load it, unload it, assemble it, disassemble it, and first and foremost safety precautions."
"I get involved with a lot of my customers. To me it's not just a sale, it's a relationship. We were having doctors, nurses — you name it coming in and they wanted guns," said Atkinson. "First-timers of every age. You have teachers, you have real estate, you have every day housewives and you have kids that are in college — it's for everybody now."
FOX 11's Mary Stringini contributed to this report.