For weeks on end, there has been a mad dash - for toilet paper, for food, for hand sanitizer, for face masks. Something else that people are racing to grab? Guns.
One gun shop in Ridgeland, New York said their sales are up 75% since the virus hit (WTOC, 2020), and another online retailer had similar up-ticks with a 68% increase (Chabria & Lee, 2020). The trend across these increases? Most of these sales are from first time gun-buyers, which, frankly, frightens these retailers. Many are worried that there will be an increase in preventable in-home deaths due to a purchase that was meant to be taken as a safety measure.
Some may wonder, okay - but, how are you going to defend yourself from a virus with a gun? Well, we all know that this sickness, unfortunately, can not be so easily taken out by a bullet. But, many people’s thought process is that everything is uncertain at this time (people are physically fighting each other over toilet-paper rolls for god's sake) and the only rational thing they can think to do is get any form of protection they can, for themselves and their family’s sake.
So, wait. Gun stores are still open? Yes - and it has been a debate for weeks. Some are arguing that these stores are non-essential businesses and that they need to be closed for safety measures - most specifically in New York and California where the virus has been hit the hardest. The N.R.A sued the two states for their attempt at shutting these retailers down, feeling as though this was an “assault on [their] Second Amendment freedoms” (Hakim, 2020). While the governor of California left the decision to counties, New York continues to resist (Hakim, 2020).
This sprint for ammunition has created a slowing of guns and their supplies in these retail stores, as deliveries are slower to arrive due to the current climate (WTOC, 2020). People are flooding in, from amateurs to experts, trying to stock up on what they feel will protect them.
With 4.6 million children living in homes where guns are accessible, this poses a further threat to these families (amnestyusa, 2020). While staying home, and quarantining may prove safer to some, it may prove deathly to others. Accidental shootings occur more often than we may believe, and this spike in gun possession sparks further fear across the nation.
It is times like these where everything is uncertain and chaos can ensue. We pray for this to end as quickly as possible, and for this influx of guns not to add another layer to the madness.