Coronavirus Panic Prompts Spike in Gun Sales

Better stock up on toilet paper and...guns?

gun sales increase coronavirus
Gun sales increase amid cornapanic.
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / March 18, 2020 6:04 am

While people all over America have been stocking up on coronavirus quarantine essentials like toilet paper and food, others are putting their panic-spending dollars toward more aggressive means of survival, sparking a surge in gun sales in across the United States.

While sales first began to spike in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus, such as California, New York and Washington, the LA Times reports that less-affected areas have begun to see an uptick in sales as well, with one store owner in California noting that he’s been having trouble ordering from his major suppliers. “It’s everybody,” Arcadia Firearm and Safety owner David Lieu told the Times. “It’s not only California, it’s the whole nation that’s cleaned out. … It’s like toilet paper.”

While some of these recent purchases can be attributed to a growing fear of total societal breakdown, others are funded by gun owners who fear the government may use emergency powers to restrict gun purchases.

“Politicians and anti-gun people have been telling us for the longest time that we don’t need guns,” one recent gun customer in California told the outlet. “But right now, a lot of people are truly scared, and they can make that decision themselves.”

The recent boom in gun buyers has also reportedly included many Asian American customers fearful of racist, anti-Asian backlash over the virus.

While many recent gun-buyers may have their family’s safety in mind, some gun control groups have warned that bringing guns into homes while children are out of school indefinitely could be a recipe for tragedy, potentially leading to deaths of more minors in homes with unsecured guns.

Meanwhile, The National Rifle Association and other 2nd Amendment advocates have praised the increase in gun sales. “You don’t need it till you need it,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted over the weekend, claiming to have received requests for gun-buying advice from his “Democrat friends.”

Whether it’s toilet paper, hand sanitizer, the basil plant my roommate inexplicably panic-bought last week, or guns, people are stocking up for the unknown. As one Oklahoma gun store proprietor put it, “You got to be protected for all sorts of stuff. Seems like the world has gone mad.”

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