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DENVER (KDVR) — Gun store owners are facing a shortage of firearms and ammunition going into the holiday season at the end of a record-breaking year.

“This has by far beat any other year we’ve ever had,” said Josh Barton at DCF Guns in Castle Rock.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed people to buy in ways they never had before. Barton says they saw an increase in overall customers and in first-time firearm buyers.

“You start shutting things down and people worry about who’s going to be there to protect them,” said Barton. 

Through October, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) received 413,236 requests for background checks for firearms. That surpasses the total number from 2019 of 342,439 requests.

The CBI was prepared for a surge of requests on Black Friday, which is historically a busy day for gun sales. Data shows the number of requests this year was about 1,300 shy of what they saw in 2019. Barton says that’s likely due to the inventory issues plaguing their industry.

“A lot of places haven’t been able to get a hold of the inventory just because of how busy things have been the past six to eight months. We’ve gotten word the manufacturers are backed up anywhere from six months to more than a year,” said Barton.

Data from the FBI shows a rise in firearm background checks nationwide. Barton says it’s unclear when the supply and demand will level out but suspects they’ll be facing inventory issues into the spring.