Gun Sales Up 80 Percent Amid COVID Shutdown and Violent Riots

Brittany M. Hughes | June 2, 2020

Gun sales have skyrocketed 80 percent in the month of May, continuing a trend that began with the coronavirus shutdown and is now being fueled by nightly violence protests in cities and towns across the country.

“Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, a private research firm, estimated that more than 1.7 million guns were sold in May, an 80% jump from May 2019,” the Washington Times reports. Of those, 1 million were handguns, marking a 94 percent increase over last year. More than 3 million background checks were conducted by the FBI’s national instant check system last month, setting a monthly record for May and about a 32 percent increase over May of 2019.

Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Washington Times that as many as 40 percent of firearms bought in May were purchased by first-time gun buyers.

In L.A., lines to get into gun stores wrapped around buildings, with some gun sellers warning they were coming close to selling out of product. Handguns and home-defense shotguns appeared to be in highest demand.

And experts are predicting the trend won't go away anytime soon, as long as people continue to feel threatened by government overreach from the coronavirus pandemic now coupled with fears over civil unrest and violence.

“I think the current civil unrest is likely to stoke both of those fears even further and that we’re likely to see increased sales of firearms continuing on through the summer,” Georgia State University Law Professor Timothy Lytton said.