ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More and more people are buying guns, many for the very first time. “It’s a big increase. We’re seeing about 50-60% of the people coming in are new faces,” Arnold Gallegos, the owner of ABQ Guns, said.

The shop, near Coors and Montano, said they had never seen anything like it. Gallegos says he’s never seen this many new faces. “We’re seeing just cold, people walking in the door, I don’t know anything about this, I need some training, I need to find out what to do, I need to protect myself,” Gallegos said.

He says that based on the feedback he’s received, Albuquerque’s crime is driving customers to his store. “They’re looking at the rate of crime, how much crime is actually starting to affect them in their neighborhoods, here on the west side. Usually, the west side’s pretty quiet, and now they’re starting to see a lot of the neighborhoods that have typically been quiet for a long time are starting to see a lot more crime, a lot more personal crime, break-ins, and things of that nature,” Gallegos said.

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The increase in new gun owners is being felt across Albuquerque. Los Ranchos Gun Shop on Fourth Street says on top of new faces; they’re seeing a lot more women walking through the door.

“The reality is women, single women, married women, are finding that they need to take care of themselves, that they can’t rely on police, we just don’t have police resources to respond, and people have to take action,” Mark Abramson, the owner said.

CCW trainers second that. Carlson Shooting Institute says since 2020, they’ve seen more new faces and women wanting to learn, and it hasn’t slowed down. “It’s been really busy, probably went up about fourfold in the last two years of new shooters wanting to come in,” Kurt Carlson, the owner, said.

He says the increase tells him one thing, people don’t feel safe.”When seconds count, police are minutes away so you’re basically on your own at that point so people have to learn to take care of themselves.”