But how do you know for sure that they engaged in price gouging?
I think gouging is when demand rises sharply, and the retailers raise prices on items they bought before the demand increased. Their cost wasn't affected by the higher demand, but they are taking advantage of the demand to ask for more money.
An example would be after a hurricane. If a store raises the prices of lumber, chainsaws, and other materials needed to clean up and repair the damage left, that's definitely gouging. Those products didn't cost more to sell after the hurricane than before.
Another would be selling bottled water and bread for 2-3 times what it was sold at before.
Then there are the scalpers. They scoop up what people are clamoring to buy and try to make a profit on it.
There are laws in some states that punish gougers and scalpers especially after natural disasters.
Not sure how we can equate a hurricane with a firearm panic-buy in terms of fair vs. unfair pricing.
Businesses typically charge what the market will bear. If one store always has a better selection, they may charge more than the next dealer just because they know they are more competitive inventory-wise. The second store might keep prices lower to compete on price.
So, although there is a shortage of inventory in gun and ammo now, I don't think "gouging" applies to dealers unless you live where you have to buy a new gun to survive. If this were the Zombie Apocalypse, then anyone jacking-up gun and ammo prices would be gouging!
Just my opinion. I think too many people accuse sellers of gouging just because prices rose quickly. Since there's a gun buying process that takes longer in some states than others, it pays to plan ahead, shop around, and avoid impulse buying no matter what the current market environment may be.
If you want it bad, you'll get it bad.