Gun Ownership Seems to Be Rising in the DC Area

Gun Ownership Seems to Be Rising in the DC Area

Revolver in a shopping cart. Even as the pandemic has plunged Washington into its worst recession in a generation, one local industry is experiencing a boom: gun sellers. DC’s Metropolitan Police Department is on pace to register 25 percent more firearms in 2020 than it did the prior year. Shawn Poulin, owner of NOVA Armory, a gun store in Arlington, says that from the time the Covid crisis started to appear until early summer, sales quadrupled. And a region-wide run on ammunition has prompted another local dealer to limit the sale of bullets at its range to one box per customer. “Ammunition is like toilet paper,” Poulin says. People are stocking up. Local gun instructor Cedric Barnes—whose Barnes 1st Step Firearms Training has also seen a significant rise in customers—thinks the uptick in Washington weaponry is linked to a general sense of fear that has permeated the region in the seven months since the virus arrived. “It’s almost like a horror movie,” he says. “The zombieland is coming around, so everybody’s trying to bear arms before that happens.” It’s also hard not to be nervous when DC continues to be at the center of so much right-wing online craziness; it was only four years ago that a North Carolina man showed up at Comet Ping-Pong with an AR-15–style rifle. Such unease is hardly restricted to the District, of course, and gun sales have also increased nationally. Researchers at the Brookings Institution estimate that from March through June, nearly 3 […]

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