Americans have spiked the sale of guns and ammunition amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Groceries, batteries, shoes, and clothes all make sense as essential items to buy as we grapple with the coronavirus scare. But, Americans are not stocking up weapons like guns, ammunition, and knives for self-protection, the Guardian reports.
The west coast, in particular, is where the numbers are rising the most. Martin B Retting’s gun shop in Culver City, California, had lines stretching outside the store over the weekend.
“Politicians and anti-gun people have been telling us for the longest time that we don’t need guns. But right now, a lot of people are truly scared, and they can make that decision themselves,” one customer told LA Times.
One of the nation’s largest gun shops is Hyatt Guns, which is owned by Larry Hyatt, who said he hadn’t seen an overwhelming crowd like this in decades. “This is only the second time in my 61 years of business that we’ve seen anything like this,” he said. Hyatt mentioned that his first time dealing with packed lines was in 2012 after the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting. “We are experiencing a massive rush to buy guns and ammunition as people feel the need to protect themselves and their families.”
And what type of guns are people buying? Mostly target guns, but some customers are requesting AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifles, according to Hyatt. Hyatt believes the increase in gun purchases is due to people’s fear of crisis. “Financial meltdown, pandemic, crime, politics … you throw it all into the pot, and you have one hell of a mess,” said Hyatt. People are also buying online. Ammo.com’s sales have increased 68 percent in just 11 days, starting from February 23 to March. Gun sales in North Carolina and Georgia have risen by 179 percent and 169 percent, with most the largest gun sales coming from Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and New York.
“We know certain things impact ammo sales, mostly political events or economic instability when people feel their rights may end up infringed. This is our first experience with a virus leading to such a boost in sales,” said Ammo.com’s marketing manager, Alex Horsman.