After initially sparking a run on toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other cleaning products, the COVID-19 pandemic and now a rash of protests against law enforcement are sending Americans rushing to gun stores, reports the New York Post.
The last rush of gun-buying was during the Obama administration, when restrictions on firearms seemed only a breath away.
The FBI reports that it did about 5.4 million background checks for firearm purchases from April to June, almost double the 2.8 million performed in the same period last year, according to data published by the Wall Street Journal on July 14.
In the month of June, background checks surged 136 percent year-over-year nationwide, tripled in Georgia and more than doubled in New York, Illinois, Oklahoma and Minnesota. The paper’s source was the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group.
The surge has coincided with the COVID pandemic, which has killed more than 135,000 Americans and sparked government crackdowns on free trade and movement that have brought about the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It is also coming along during demonstrations following the widely publicized death of a black man in the custody of Minneapolis police.
New buyers are responsible for an estimated 40 percent of the recent sales, according to the Journal. Handguns are selling almost twice as fast as long guns like rifles or shotguns, the paper reported.
“With the pandemic, it’s driven more by fear for personal safety; it’s people who haven’t been interested in the past,” Jacquelyn Clark of Lakewood, Colorado’s of Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center told the Journal.