BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- One of the hottest stores in Beverly Hills right now doesn't sell designer clothes or handbags, but rather guns.
Located inside an office building where you have to have an appointment, Beverly Hills Guns is seeing booming sales. Owner Russell Stuart says a rise in violent crime has residents of not just Beverly Hills, but surrounding cities packing his shop every day.
"There are a lot of people here who do not fall into the rich category. Firearms and public safety is not a rich issue. We've seen an uptick in watch robberies, car thefts, follow-home invasions because of the climate of crime in Beverly Hills and throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. People have been driven to focus more on their own personal safety," said Stuart.
That includes 24-year-old Emily Junkins of Los Angeles, who bought a gun from Stuart after two shootings took place on her street corner.
"There's a ton of families that live around here. This is a really good, cute area and it really just started to go downhill about a year ago and made me feel unsafe as a citizen and as a young woman who lives alone. I just took matters into my own hands. I felt that was the best option," said Junkins.
Customer Sherry Tedeschi of Beverly Hills says she no longer feels safe in the city she's lived in for 50 years. The Dec. 1, 2021 murder of longtime Beverly Hills resident Jackie Avant left Tedeschi frightened.
"We have crime right here. Across the street they had a safe stolen out of the wall. A lot of us are watching one another now," said Tedeschi.
New gun owners are encouraged by Stuart to go to the shooting range, learn what you're doing, and most importantly, store your gun in a safe place.
"We stress safety, safety, safety all the time because it will be a public safety issue if people do not train with their weapons," said Stuart.