Gun dealers are reporting a rise in sales as the nation hits the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve got more empty slots than we do filled slots at this point,” said Craig Serafini, owner of Upstate Guns and Ammo.

He says that’s been the trend for just about a year now at his shop in Schenectady.

“It applies to ammunition as well,” he said.

Serafini is not the only gun dealer experiencing a spike in sales.

More than 2.2 million guns were sold across the country in January, according to Small Arms Analytics. That’s a year-over-year increase of about 79 percent from January 2020.

“The unrest that we’ve seen in the last year, whether it be from the pandemic concerns or from the protests and riots we’ve seen, or the political shift, where we are seeing some anti-gun rhetoric starting to come back,” he said.

Serafini believes those are the contributing factors based on what he’s hearing from his customers.

The shop has seen the most first-time buyers over the past 12 months since Serafini opened the doors about six years ago.

“This is something I don’t think in my wildest dreams I could have fathomed,” he said.

As to what sort of firearms are selling, Serafini said it runs the gamut.

“Anything in the store that wasn’t bolted down seems to have been sold,” he said.

Serafini expects these trends to continue, as is often the case when there is a change of administration in Washington.

He welcomes the business, but says it comes with a price.

“I almost wish that it wasn’t like this,” he said. “From a business standpoint, being busy every day is absolutely phenomenal, but from just a standpoint of a guy who is working, it’s exhausting.”