Op-Ed: Gun sales surged to record numbers since March. What does it portend?

Op-Ed: Gun sales surged to record numbers since March. What does it portend?

A line at a gun store in Culver City in March extends out the door and around the corner. Sociologists like me see the gun business as a telltale for the American psyche. In recent years, surges in sales have preceded high-stakes elections and followed high-profile gun tragedies, amid the prospect of tightening gun laws. While concerns about self-defense are almost always in the mix, increased sales often center on concerns that gun enthusiasts should get the guns they want while they still can. But 2020 looks a little different. In March, when the COVID-19 pandemic moved from an abstract to an immediate concern for the United States, FBI background checks — the standard measure of gun sales — hit a then-all-time-high of 3.7 million (in February the number was 2.8 million). This was just the beginning. Background checks increased by 48% from March through July in comparison with 2019 figures, and June set an all-time record of 3.9 million. So many guns were being sold, it created a backlog in the background check system. According to news reports , the Department of Justice had to ask Congress for extra staffing to deal with the demand. As lockdown guidelines went into effect and anecdotal reports of people lining up at gun shops began to circulate, I started calling sellers to get some insight into the 2020 sales. From April to August, I interviewed more than 50 sellers in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan. For the most part, the dealers […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.