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March 2020 Set a New Record for Monthly Gun Sales

It’s official. People are out in full force amid this coronavirus pandemic buying firearms.

Recently released data shows the month of March once again marked record gun sales and background checks. This beats out the previous monthly record set back in December 2015. Let’s look at why this new record was set, and how our country is feeling about gun ownership in the wake of COVID-19. 

The previous record set in December 2015 showed gun sales at 2.2 million, with background checks clocking in at 3.3 million. This came in response to mass shootings that took place in San Bernardino, California and Paris, France, both of which sparked debates on gun control in the United States. Gun sales also generally increase during the month of December because of the holidays.

The new record for March 2020 puts gun sales at a whopping 2.3 million, with background checks from the NICS coming in at 3.7 million. It’s a 12 percent increase for background checks and a 7 percent increase for gun sales over the 2015 record. Gun sales in this category include all types of firearms from handguns to shotguns and rifles. It’s estimated that handguns outsold long guns by double. 

When stores and restaurants started shutting down across the United States in March, people were generally concerned that gun stores were going to be part of those closures. In a few places, gun stores did shut down before the Trump administration declared them to be critical infrastructures, and declared workers in that field essential. Other critical infrastructures include emergency services, food providers, transportation, and healthcare. 

Closures raised suspicions of instability. So, people lined up in record numbers to purchase guns and ammunition to make sure their homes were protected. Many of these buyers were first-time gun owners. Luckily, shooting ranges are also considered part of the critical infrastructure mandate, so people who didn’t have experience with firearms could get some proper training. 

Looking forward, it’s likely that the numbers for gun sales and background checks for April 2020 will still be pretty high. They might even beat March’s record setting numbers. In light of the global pandemic, it’s natural for people to feel the need to protect themselves. With so many people out of work and desperate, crime could certainly surge. People are unsure that police will be able to respond to their calls in a timely manner.

That’s why responsible citizens, who are exercising their Second Amendment rights, just want to be prepared if anything were to happen that compromises their family’s safety.


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