Iowa’s gun stores are struggling to compete with the surging demand for guns.
The state’s gun sales have been steadily declining since the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“You’re seeing a very large increase in demand from people who are looking to purchase firearms,” said Joe Wertz, director of the Iowa State Patrol.
“There are more and more of them,” Wertsz said.
“And they’re getting their hands on more guns and the demand is growing.”
Iowa is among several states in the country that allow the sale of guns to minors and people who have not completed the required course of training.
That includes most of Iowa, which has a population of about 5.6 million.
It has been an easy sell for gun buyers.
But for the most part, gun dealers are struggling.
Gunsmithing and gun repair shops have been forced to close their doors and have had to close, as have other businesses.
And while the Iowa state legislature has passed a law to prevent gun sales to people with mental health issues, many of the state’s licensed gun dealers have not signed up to abide by that law.
“It’s a huge issue,” Wernst said.
The shortage of dealers has prompted the state to set up a special commission to study the problem.
Wernsz has been working with the commission since it was formed in January.
Wernst is not only concerned about gun violence in Iowa, but also the lack of a strong background check system.
He said Iowa is one of only a few states that have no such system.
The problem has been compounded by a federal court order that has restricted gun sales and restricted interstate gun trafficking.
Iowa has been trying to set a new gun sale record, which will be announced Wednesday.
Iowa is one the states that has allowed private sales.
Wertzz said there have been more than 2,200 private sales in Iowa in the past year.
Wertz said it is a challenge for people to make an informed decision when they are considering a purchase.
“I don’t think you’re going to find people in Iowa that are making an informed purchase decision unless they are a licensed firearms dealer,” Wretz said, adding that the lack the ability to verify the paperwork, the price and the background check is holding people back from making an important purchase decision.
Iowa has not set a goal for how many guns will be sold this year, but Wertzen expects it will be well above 10,000.