About 110,000 Californians have bought a gun since the coronavirus arrived, study says

LOS ANGELES — In the first five months of the COVID-19, thousands of Californians bought new guns and changed the way they stored their firearms in a bid to counter the unrest, government crackdowns and societal disintegration they feared would be unleashed by the public health emergency, a new survey has found. The University of California, Davis researchers who conducted the survey detected shifts in gun ownerships trends that they said are likely to drive an uptick in firearm-related injuries and deaths, including suicides and the consequences of accidental discharges. By mid-July, the pandemic was cited as a factor in the purchase of an estimated 110,000 new firearms in the state, they reported. The majority of those sales — 57% — were to people who already owned at least one gun. But the remaining 43% went to people who did not previously own a firearm. That figure suggests the pandemic has helped spur the creation of as many as 47,300 new gun-owning households in the state, the UC Davis team reported this month to MedRxiv, a website where researchers share their preliminary work. Many of those are homes that include children, teens and others at risk of self-injury, they added. The California Safety and Wellbeing Survey was given to 2,870 Californians selected to serve as a representative sample of the state’s adult population. Its questions were designed to capture what they were thinking and doing in response to the pandemic and a political climate roiled by a string of […]

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