As local and state governments across the country have restricted the liberties of their citizens since the coronavirus began its spread, many Americans have found themselves quietly exercising their rights by buying guns in record numbers. Purchases of firearms continued to break records last month during the nation’s health and economic crises. Gun sales, which reached all-time highs in March, continued their surge in April amid uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and the government’s response to it.
Americans bought almost 1.8 million guns in April, according to estimates from Small Arms Analytics, which tracks the sales of firearms. While fewer people bought guns in April than they did in March, when 2.5 million firearms were purchased, the number of arms purchased in April was an increase of 71 percent compared to sales estimates for the same timeframe in 2019. Small Arms Analytics noted that more handguns have been sold than rifles or shotguns.
Additionally, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System reported it conducted more than 2.9 million firearm background checks in April.
NICS ran more than 3.7 million checks in the month of March.
The news is certainly welcome for the gun industry, but it should be celebrated that so many Americans are exercising their Constitutional rights during such an unprecedented time in the country’s history. Governments across the country have released potentially dangerous criminals back onto the streets as a way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in jails and prisons. With the influx of so many possibly dangerous people now among us, people are reminded that they are the first responders to emergent situations, and are taking steps to ensure they can protect themselves and their families.
Far-left politicians, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, have also promised to go after Americans’ firearms if elected in November, which could be contributing to the spike in sales and background checks. But whether the increase in sales is due to fears of government overreach, talk of gun control or a reaction to other factors, the country’s current predicament is evidence of just how essential the Second Amendment is, and Americans are recognizing that.
Last month, the proprietor of a gun store and shooting range in deep blue Southern California described the unprecedented demand for firearms in Orange County. Gregg Bouslog, the proprietor of On-Target Indoor Shooting Range in Laguna Niguel, explained his shock at the influx in gun sales.
“As the owner of an indoor shooting range and gun store here in California these past 14 years we have never experienced such a huge demand for firearms and ammunition — even higher than the famous Obama rush of 2012/2013,” Bouslog told Red State.
Bouslog added he believed a great number of his new customers were first-time gun buyers.
While toilet paper shortages grabbed headlines in the early weeks of the crisis, and others warn of potential meat shortages coming, the one industry having the most difficulty staying ahead of demand is the gun industry. In the last month, I have personally visited multiple gun retailers, multiple times, seeking to purchase ammunition and to browse for firearms. In what is both inspiring and frustrating, I have found the shelves and walls of gun stores in Oklahoma to be mostly barren, as sellers attempt to keep up with demand.
As the firearms industry is considered essential by the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security, according to the NRA, gun sellers are mostly open for business, and some are having a difficult time keeping their inventory replenished — and there is something significant to be taken from that. Americans are sending a clear message: Constitutional liberties will not be suspended or surrendered in the face of a national emergency or by government decree, and people are taking measures to protect themselves from all potential threats to their rights.