With death tolls climbing every hour, and most of the United States under lockdown, a lot of Americans seem to look at guns are the best response to the situation. And according to experts, it is not just about fears over public disorder.
What do the numbers show?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted at least three million background checks in March last year, their highest total since instant background check programs started in 1998. These numbers represent a one million increase from March 2019.
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At least 200,000 background checks were done in the mid-last year, the most extensive single-day record background checks ever. According to the United States media, the Federal Bureau of Investigation data indicates that at least two million firearms were bought in March of last year alone. Illinois has the most number of bought firearms with nearly 500,000 sales, followed by Texas, Florida, Kentucky, and California.
Gun stores across the United States reported that they could not restock their shelves quickly enough to cope with the demand. The latest statistics also show a previous high of three million, which was set in 2015 after Obama raised the possibility of restricting long firearms like assault rifles after the mass shooting in California.
Why are gun sales increasing?
According to experts in the United States gun industry, a lot of new firearm deals are being motivated by two elements that the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred on.
The first reason is the concern that the society – health, police, and fire services – could be eroded someday. It can lead to breakdowns in law and order. In these cases, firearms can be viewed as a self-service survival tool.
To find out more about the Gun Control Act, click https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/gun-control-act for more info.
The second reason is people’s concerns over big governments breaching American freedoms like gun ownership, which is incorporated in the United States constitution. A lot of the public health measures like shelter-in-place, restricting the public’s movements and restricting what the public can purchase raise a lot of fears among many individuals of the possibility of government tyranny and take over.
In some ways, these reasons are in opposition to each other. Some individuals are worried about the fact that their government is falling apart and will not protect them. Other individuals are concerned that their government is getting too strong and limiting the public’s freedom.
Why do people buy guns?
One firearm owner told a news agency that he bought his first firearm in March 2020, one day after the National Basketball Association announced that they were suspending their games. Another owner says he views his decision as his extension of the guidance he had seed from government officials, who told the American public to consider having a couple of day’s supply of water, food, and other essential commodities in case of disruptions to supply chains.
It is hard to discount the little chances of temporary civil unrest where people cannot rely on law enforcement agencies. And firearms are cheap insurance against these unrests. It is all well and good to have stockpiles of supplies and food, but there is no use having all these stockpiles without a means of defending the property.
What is the reaction been?
Some areas in the country have allowed gun stores to continue to operate as an essential business despite the government’s mandatory lockdown order affecting at least 90% of the United States. New Mexico, Massachusetts, and New York have forced stores to close but have continued their operations through the Internet. The state of Washington ordered stores to close, but some continued to operate despite the government’s ban on gun sales.
Other factors that can influence gun sales
United States domestic politics usually influences firearm sales, as Democratic politicians are viewed as likely to crack down on firearm rights compared to Republican politicians like Donald Trump. Sales spiked after Barrack Obama’s two terms and rose in 2016 as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rose in polls and was expected to win against Donald Trump. Sales dropped off after Donald Trump won the election. Mass shootings also trigger a lot of concerns among gun owners of crackdowns on private ownership. It also causes sales of ammo and guns to increase drastically.