Opinion: Rise in Gun and Ammunition Sales a Result of Several Factors
There is no doubt that the onset of the coronavirus and the upcoming presidential election have had an effect on firearm and ammunition sales. Although the pandemic and election year have sparked this trend, the mystery behind the intent can be attributed to many factors.
The coronavirus outbreak in January placed fear and uncertainty in the lives of many people all over the world. Thus, the world began to panic as no one knew what the outcome would be.
During this time, many gun and ammunition companies had noted the dramatic increase in sales.
According to the Financial Times, gun purchases were 71% higher this June compared to June 2019.
As countries began to put forth lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, some people found a sense of security through acquiring firearms. This has been a common trend throughout history; when the world is enduring uncertain times, people tend to gravitate toward things that give them a sense of security or make them feel more in control. Gary Kleck, a researcher at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, said that gun sales tend to go up during uncertain times. He also said that fear of government restriction of firearms also can cause a sharp rise in sales.
As there was no feasible way to predict what was to come from the pandemic, people wanted to buy what they could in case guns and ammunition became unavailable or became restricted.
Moreover, 2020 being a presidential election year has also attributed to an increase in buyers for firearms and ammunition.
When President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, firearm and ammunition sales declined. These types of sales tend to decline when the White House has a shift in power towards Republicans. As the Republican party is in favor of the Second Amendment, the potential for restrictions on firearms and ammunition is not as likely.
In the same way, when the Democratic party holds the White House, firearms and ammunition sales increase, as the likelihood of restrictions occurring is higher.
As an example, gun sales saw a dramatic increase under Obama’s administration, but when President Trump was elected, sales went down as citizens weren’t as concerned that their Second Amendment rights would be restricted. Michael Busler, a finance professor at Stockton University said under the Obama presidency people said, “We better go out and purchase guns now while we can. Then when President Trump was elected, they felt exactly the opposite.”
Thus, as the presidential election is less than a month away, there is the potential for a shift in political power. In other words, as the results of the election are not yet determined, people become more inclined to purchase firearms, as there is always a chance for restrictions to be made.
Presidents aren’t the only ones who can cause firearm restrictions, however. Governors hold a lot of that power as well, which is seen in states such as Virginia where gun regulations have gotten more restrictive in the last few years.
As gun sales have increased, most of the buyers are women. Statistics have shown that more women have bought firearms this year as a result of the pandemic and the civil unrest throughout the country.
“Forty percent of new gun buyers have been women, and we’re seeing a ton of people who happen to live alone purchasing firearms,” said Adam Copp, CEO of Howell’s Indoor Range and Gunshop.
Many of these women are first-time gun owners and have made the purchase for their own physical safety.
Mandatory background checks by the FBI conducted on those who want to purchase a gun have been utilized to determine the increase in sales.
Statistics revealed that firearm sales had skyrocketed to more than 120,000 purchases per day for a few weeks in March and peaked at 176,000 on March 16 after the president declared a national health emergency. Sales continued to increase and led to more than 700,000 firearms purchased total for the month of March. During the month of June when riots began to surface, gun sales reached more than 150,000 purchases daily for a few weeks.
All in all, 2020 has been a year full of unpredictable events. As I have seen the effects that the pandemic has had on the world, it has become clear that fear and the unknown have driven people to purchase firearms for their own safety and peace of mind.
As the enemy uses unrest to stir up fear in our lives, Psalm 56:3-4 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
While we can take steps to make sure we are prepared for whatever comes our way, it is important to remember that in everything God has a plan and a purpose and nothing catches him by surprise. He holds our lives in his hands.
Lauren Shank is an Opinion Writer.