People wait in a line to enter a gun store in Culver City, California as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. | Image: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File
- Gun sales in March were the second-highest ever after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2013.
- Americans stockpile guns to protect themselves, as they fear the coronavirus pandemic might cause civil disorder.
- Trump has ruled gun stores as essential businesses.
Toilet paper, dollar bills, and booze are not the only things Americans are stockpiling because of the coronavirus crisis. They are also stockpiling guns.
Gun sales generally increase after mass shootings. In this case, the coronavirus pandemic drove a spike in sales. We have recently seen long lines outside gun stores across the country.
Bullseye Tactical Supply, a gun and ammunition store in Woodbridge, New Jersey, saw an increase of about 40% in gun sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The ammunition website Ammo.com saw a record 222% surge in bullet sales between February 23 and March 15 when compared to the first three weeks of February.
According to a New York Times analysis of federal data, Americans bought 1.9 million guns in March. It was the second busiest month of gun sales, after January 2013, where 2 million units were sold. Gun sales exploded after Obama’s re-election and the Sandy Hook shooting. At the time, the prospect of new gun restrictions under Obama was a big sales driver.
Americans bought an impressive number of guns in March amid the coronavirus outbreak. | Source: The New York Times
Coronavirus Fear Is Driving Gun Sales
In the past, fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of soaring gun sales. But last month was different. As they prepare for an uncertain future, Americans have crowded grocery stores to stock up on essentials like canned beans and toilet paper. A similar concern appears to be behind gun sales.
Firearm and bullet sales have exploded as some fear that the pandemic could cause civil unrest.
People are nervous that there’s a certain amount of civil disorder that might come if huge numbers of people are sick and a huge number of institutions are not operating normally. They may have an anxiety about protecting themselves if the organs of state are starting to erode.
People fear chaos. And when there’s chaos, people want to protect themselves. Our instinct of survival kicks in when we feel we are in danger.
Guns appear to be the best thing to protect ourselves. However, if put in the wrong hands, a firearm can be extremely dangerous.
On March 19, a man in New Mexico accidentally shot to death his 13-year-old cousin. He told the police he was carrying a gun to protect himself during the epidemic.
Trump Has Classified Gun Stores As Essential Businesses
The gun rush has raised public health concerns. Local authorities have discussed whether gun stores should be closed temporarily like other retailers.
Supporters of stricter safety measures argue that increased purchases could pose a security threat if buyers aren’t adequately trained, new firearms are not stored securely, and background checks aren’t completed.
But after lobbying from the gun industry, the Trump administration said this week that gun stores are essential businesses and should remain open during the lockdown alongside grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies. We can wonder if it’s a wise decision, as crowds of people are going to gun stores and not respecting social distancing. More people will likely get infected amid this frenzy.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.