Gun sales across the nation increased by more than 1.1 million new purchases during March alone. The ammunition website Ammo.com reported a 222% increase in transactions between Feb. 23 and March 15 when compared to the first three weeks in February as well as a 309% increase in revenue over the same period, citing coronavirus fears as responsible for this surge.
“The world has never seen anything like this and people want to make sure they’re prepared for whatever lies ahead, whether that be food shortages, government shutdown, or worse,” a spokesperson for Ammo.com said. “When everything around you is uncertain, having a supply of ammunition can make our customers feel safer.”
Cities in Spain, including Madrid, had emergency services placing callers on hold for upwards of four hours, according to a Spanish resident in March. More nationally, though, Cincinnati declared March 24 that Cincinnati Police would not respond in-person to calls regarding assaults without injury, break-ins and criminal damaging, among other things. This has prompted some to purchase firearms in fear of the worst-case scenario in which emergency services become unavailable.
Fueling fears of government overreach, cities across the nation have enacted stay-at-home orders, with Broward County, among others, adding a curfew on top of that. After still being on lockdown during Easter weekend with no gatherings over ten people permitted, many called this an infringement on First Amendment rights.
“Some people are worried about the fact that government’s falling apart and won’t protect them, and other people are worried that the government is getting too strong and is going to limit their freedom,” Timothy Lytton, Georgia State University Law School professor, said.
However, when the government forced non-essential businesses to cease business for the time being, gun shops were classified as non-essential in certain parts of the country. But, after severe pushback from state residents, many of these states backed down and labeled gun stores essential businesses.