Americans are worried about the government limiting or banning gun sales. Even liberals and leftists have muzzled the morality rhetoric and antipathy towards firearms that they’re otherwise known for, and have sought to arm themselves in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bearing Arms Magazine.
In Hood River, Oregon, gun store owner Erika Bales has been very busy with customers that aren’t her typical Trump-loving Republicans from the red states. “There’s so many coming in,” Bales told Bearing Arms Magazine. “First-time-gun-owner liberals. I’ve probably seen ten this week. It’s so funny, because I hope it just turns them on to liking the Second Amendment. I mean, the Constitution was created for a reason. To protect us.”
One of Bales’ customers was a 60-year-old woman who lives alone. She ended up purchasing a Kel-Tec PMR30 and two boxes of .22 magnum ammunition. “In two months, if the cities are starving, they’re gonna come out. And I understand that,” said the woman.
Bales’ 60-year-old customer seems to understand that the coronavirus doesn’t pose the biggest threat to her safety. The economic downturn could eventually lead to looting, rioting, and unprecedented crime. In some areas of the country, like Newburgh NY which is an hour from where I live, it already has.
In another part of the country, background checks—a proxy for gun sales—have increased since the novel coronavirus appeared in the U.S. From March 10 to March 16, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, or CBI, has received 14,604 background check requests for firearms. This is compared to 7,357 firearm background checks from the same six-day timeframe last year.
Anthony Navarro, owner of Colorado Shooting Sports in Greeley, CO, told KUNC Radio that his store has seen an uptick in firearm background check requests of over 3,000. Ordinarily, a background check could take between five and eight minutes. With 2nd amendment concerns rising among Americans due to the government's response to coronavirus, there has been a virtual tidal wave of applicants. Firearm background checks could now take up to two days.
“We’re seeing everything from your standard client that we see all the time,” Navarro told KUNC, “all the way to liberal, democratic anti-gun people, buying guns for the first time.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published an article about the nationwide rash of firearm sales that have occurred in response to COVID-19’s impact on America’s social infrastructure. Like Erika Bales’ customer—a liberal, first-time gun owner—the article in the Gazette spotlighted another unlikely firearms customer, namely a man from NYC who described himself as a “liberal democrat”. The man told the Gazette that purchasing a gun “was an impulse buy, not a ‘panic’.”
Other fire and ammo store owners across Pennsylvania have reported similar:
“More first-time handgun owners,” said Todd Edmiston, owner of A&S Pistol Range in Youngwood, PA. “A lot of people asking about self-protection and questions we don’t usually hear, asking if we provide training.”
Ty Eggemeyer, owner of Keystone Shooting Center in Mars, PA, told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, “Most of what’s selling is for self-defense and protection. Mostly handguns. Our home-defense shotguns, wiped out.”
“I didn’t see it coming,” Gooch Ionadi, co-owner of the Smoke n’ Guns tobacco and gun shop in Oakmont, PA told reporter John Hayes. “The panic that it’s struck on people is unbelievable.”
Since March 10, guns and ammunition sales due to “panic buying” have massively boosted stock prices for American Outdoor Brand, the publicly traded parent company of Smith & Wesson; Vista Outdoor, which owns several ammunition companies; and Sturm, Ruger & Co; all of this according to The Trace.
Americans have moved on from hoarding toilet paper and are stockpiling guns instead as fears about the economic consequences of the coronavirus come to fruition in the form of street crime. There has been less genuine policing, as authorities have shifted focus to enforcing “shelter in place” and “stay at home” ordinances. Government officials in select cities have released convicts from prison, which has only added to the mounting anxiety the nation is experiencing.
At what point will you, as a citizen, arm yourself if you haven’t already?