by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Gun sales exploded across the United States as the coronavirus pandemic spread, with retailers experiencing the highest sales volume in recorded history.
More than 2.5 million guns were sold in March as fears over the effects of the coronavirus spread, according to an analysis of FBI background check data released Wednesday by Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (SAAF). The buying craze marked the busiest month on record for gun stores, even as some faced shutdown orders from state and local authorities. The record-setting monthly sales nearly doubled the 1.4 million guns sold in March 2019.
A separate analysis from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry’s trade group, reached the same conclusion.”Our adjusted numbers are the largest month on record,” Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the group, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Concerns about the coronavirus—which has resulted in the release of certain prisoners, reduced enforcement of certain laws, and reduced police force numbers—drove Americans to their local gun stores and online ammunition dealers at a pace unseen before by many in the industry. The rush has been exacerbated in some states by the closure of gun stores. The high demand from Americans in the time of crisis has been repeatedly cited by gun-rights groups as they’ve sought to challenge shutdown orders in court.
Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, which has filed multiple suits against closures across the country, said he was not surprised by the record sales.
“This is no surprise,” he said in an email. “With a major uncharted health crisis that could result in a collapse of social order.”
Read Carolina Journal Online’s recent coverage of gun-related issues in North Carolina linked to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.