Shoppers Rush to Hoffman's Gun Center Before Non-Essential Stores Close

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A long line of customers began lining up early on Saturday morning outside of Hoffman's Gun Center, hoping to buy a gun or ammunition before Monday.

The rush comes after Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order to close down non-essential businesses to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The line wrapped around the building and into the parking lot as customers waited to get inside.

Scott Hoffman is the owner of Hoffman's Gun Center and said he's seen an uptick in business through the past week.

"We're getting low and we're running out," said Hoffman. "Business is busy and people are afraid and so they want to protect themselves."

But, there is one question that's been running through Hoffman's mind since Lamont issued the Executive Order to close non-essential businesses.

"What's more essential than defending yourself?" said Hoffman. "What's more essential than that, but you can go out and buy a 6-pack of bud-light?"

The uptick in sales has been great for Hoffman's Gun Center, but the Executive Order means the hours are winding down before the doors have to close.

"I'm more concerned about providing for my customer base that are truly feared," said Hoffman.

One customer who asked us not to use his name said he traveled up 45 minutes from Guilford to purchase 2 rifles and a shotgun.

Meanwhile, others were puzzled when they saw the long line of people waiting to get in.

"I just don't understand all those people waiting in line for what, ammunition and guns?" said Dorcas Crockett, of New Britain.

But, Hoffman believes protecting loved ones is essential.

"God Forbid, somebody breaks into somebody's house, like a home invasion and the person who wanted to buy a gun, couldn't and lost their lives and their loved ones," said Hoffman.

All agree that staying healthy and social distancing is essential during this time.

"I just think everybody needs to kind of hunker down, stay safe, stay healthy and stop hoarding so much stuff," said Crockett.

Governor Lamont's executive order states that all non-essential businesses close by 8 p.m. on Monday.

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