(Update 4/3/2020: The original version of this report incorrectly stated that CNN was reporting that Illinois had the highest number of gun sales, it should have stated highest number of background checks. It has since been corrected)
TheWhile customers were rushing to buy up all the toilet paper, bread and Clorox from grocery store shelves to prep for the national coronavirus lockdown, it looks like many were checking off one other crucial item from their list: guns.
According to the Free Beacon’s gun expert Stephen Gutowski, Americans bought more than 2.5 million firearms during the month of March. A Small Arms Analytics analysis of raw FBI data on background checks found that that gun sales were up 85 percent from March of 2019, including a 91 percent increase in handgun sales and a nearly 74 percent increase in rifle purchases.
Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told the Free Beacon that March set a record high for gun sales.
CNN reports that the state with the highest number of background checks was Illinois, followed by Texas, Kentucky, Florida, and California.
As millions of Americans rushed to buy guns and ammo, some states and localities have made moves to shut down gun stores as "non-essential businesses" during the coronavirus lockdown. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva waffled back and forth before finally mandating that gun stores close to the general public per guidance from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. Villanueva expressed concern that too many first-time gun buyers were purchasing firearms during a time of panic, supposedly creating a higher potential for gun violence.
(Cover Photo: Michael Saechang)