It’s no secret that 2020 has seen record numbers of Americans arm themselves – including many first-time gun owners. But the rush on firearms isn’t over yet. Nearly 17 million guns have been purchased in the first ten months of 2020, which is more than any other year since the FBI began recording gun sales – and we still have two months to go.
This year has provided ample reasons for Americans to fear for their personal safety:
- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam passed sweeping gun control legislation that could pave the way for new national restrictions.
- The Coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic shutdowns left many Americans desperate for work and money.
- Civil unrest due to police brutality cases lead to rioting, looting, and arson across the country.
- Calls to defund the police indicated to the public that there may be no one to call when they need help.
- An incredibly close and contentious election has the entire population on edge and prepared for additional violence and rioting.
- The looming possibility of a Progressive President could lead to extreme gun control measures being passed.
Gun Stores are Short on Inventory
Partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, gun stores are low on inventory. Both guns and ammunition are sold out in most parts of the country, with many retailers beginning waiting lists for customers to enter their information on, in case shipments come in.
Andy Chernoff, owner of Coliseum Gun Traders in Uniondale, New York, said that the months-long surge was also fueled by a global shortage in gun parts and ammunition brought on by the pandemic.
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“The inventory is sparse because COVID-19 has done a job on the factories. They don’t necessarily work so well,” Chernoff said.
But the demand continues to be high across the U.S. Blythe’s Sport Shops in Griffith, Indiana reported selling out of 80,000 rounds of 9mm ammo in just 30 minutes. After ammunition has been in short supply all year, customers are buying as much as retailers will allow them to.
Election is the Newest Catalyst
The election is the newest catalyst driving increased gun sales. Both the immediate fear of violence and the long-term fear of confiscation and legislation are causing many gun owners to stock up on whatever they can get their hands on.
Three gun stores in New York reported seeing massive increases in sales leading up to the election.
John Moutopoulos, owner of Millennium Firearms in New Hyde Park, told Patch in a phone interview Wednesday he’s seen business increase by at least 70 percent in the weeks before the election.
Millennium customers are focused on self-defense shotguns due to fears of civil unrest and the unknown.
“With the protests, people are afraid they’re going to have their homes broken into,” Moutopoulos said.
Jimmy Gong, owner of Jimmy’s Sport Shop in Mineola, told Patch in a phone interview Wednesday he’s also seen an increase in sales, with most customers seeking self-defense weapons such as shotguns and rifles.
Coliseum Gun Traders’ customers are also mainly interested in shotguns for home-defense, including 12- and 20-gauge shotguns.
“Whatever they’re comfortable handling that they can get,” Chernoff said.
Vermont gun stores have also reported recent surges in gun sales.
“I think it’s mostly the election,” said David Pidgeon, owner of Pidgeon’s Gun Shop in New Haven. “They fear that Biden might win. He’s threatened a lot of confiscation and change in laws and so forth. A lot of people are very much afraid.”
“At the start of the election, it really started taking off,” said Phil LaCroix, owner of LaCroix Muzzleloader and Supply in Colchester. “All my friends who own gun shops have seen the same thing. It just spiked up so high.”
LaCroix says there’s one gun in particular that people want:
“The biggest sale was the AR. Usually any election in the last few years has been that way,” he said. “The ARs go up.”
Americans may have voted for Joe Biden and increased gun control, but they’re determined to arm themselves to the teeth before his changes take effect.