The experience is not unique in Hungary. However, the number of purchases increased significantly in many weapon shops in the country. The starting date of the rise is uniform: the day when Russia invaded Ukraine. Telex.hu asked the shops about the past week because their readers complained they could not buy ammunition in the capital. Furthermore, shops ran out of flare guns.
“Since the start of the Russian invasion, the level of trade in our shop increased significantly. The rise is threefold compared to an average month-end period,” Gábor Vass, the owner of four weapon stores in Budapest, told telex.hu. Mr Vass is also the editor-in-chief of the Kaliber Magazin, a paper specialised in arms and ammunitions. Vass said that they ran out of the rubber bullet guns even though they are the most expensive in the category of non-lethal, free to hold guns. Furthermore, they sold much more alarm guns than before. Interestingly, people have started to buy even crossbows these days.
The owner said that people would like to be in safety. That is why they buy these weapons. The buyers say that evil-minded people will also arrive with the many refugees coming from Ukraine. Therefore, they think they need such weapons. Of course, they would be of no use against a tank or a soldier with a Kalashnikov rifle.
Not every arms store experiences the same increased number of buyers. Nimród–Derringer said that they did not experience increased demand. The number of people asking for more information rose, but they explained away the trend with the product shortage during the coronavirus epidemic. They said people buy in waves when the stores get a new delivery of goods.
Gábor Vass said they experienced a similar trend at the beginning of the migration crisis in 2015. It lasted for 1-2 weeks then, and the outbreak of the epidemic brought the same phenomenon. The latter was common in all Hungarian weapon stores. The Nimród–Derringer arms store, for example, said that between March and April in 2020, the rise in the number of people buying weapons was palpable.
László Kovács, the CEO of Viapharma Ltd., running another arms store, said that they prepared for a similar wave of increased buying as in March 2020. However, they have not experienced a significant rise yet. Mr Kovács said that demand grew but not two- or threefold, only by 20-30 pc. The trend was that people did not come to buy weapons until the end of February. The business started to flourish at the end of February, he added. Therefore, it may be that the plus 20-30 pc only follows the pattern of the previous years.
Mr Kovács said their buyers came from the countryside now because the stores there ran out, adding that demand rose for rubber bullet guns. He stated that they have some products where they face shortages. But that is not because of the Russian invasion, the product shortage and transport problems followed the coronavirus epidemic.
Featured image: illustration. Photo of Ukrainian volunteers learning about weapons use in Uzhorod (Ungvár), Transcarpathia.