(FreedomJournal.org)- The coronavirus pandemic has convinced a record-setting number of Americans to buy a gun.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), almost 5 million Americans purchased a gun for the first time thus far in 2020. Between January and August, the group estimates that 4.84 million people purchased a gun for the first time. Year to date, 171.1 million guns have been sold in the country.
This is a significant increase in both overall gun sales and first-time gun sales from previous years.
In a statement, the NSSF’s senior vice president and general counsel, Lawrence G. Keane, said:
“This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of today’s gun-owning community.”
New gun purchases have also led to a spike in membership for pro-gun groups. The National Rifle Association has reported that it has added 1,000 new members each day in just June and July.
The fastest-demographic for new buyers were women and black Americans, according to a separate NSSF study.
As Keane said in his statement:
“These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership. That’s rapidly changing, and these Americans are taking hold of their God-given right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones.”
This could prove to be significant in upcoming elections, as gun advocates typically lean more conservative.
In a separate statement, the NSSF explained:
“Firearm sales typically rise during presidential election years. Democratic candidates Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) are calling for stringent gun-control measures, including forcible confiscation, banning entire classes of firearms from lawful possession, licensing schemes and repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would expose the firearm industry to frivolous and harassing lawsuits.”
Because of the upcoming presidential election, the NSSF said it expects gun sales to continue at the very high levels for the rest of 2020 and beyond. The activity could be especially strong as people fear that a Biden-Harris administration would threaten their future gun ownership rights.
Gun sales began to explode in March as the coronavirus pandemic began in the United States. More than 2.5 million guns were sold nationwide in March alone, which was almost double the previous monthly record of 1.4 million guns that were sold the year before, in March 2009.
The record sales continued for just about every month since. This is despite many states putting restrictions in place on gun stores and dealers. Some liberal states labeled gun stores as non-essential places of business, which forced them to close at the beginning when many of these states issued stay-at-home orders.
The record number of gun sales were not a surprise to many, including the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan Gottlieb. When the March numbers were released, he said:
“This is no surprise. With a major uncharted health crisis that could result in a collapse of social order. With criminal inmates being let out of prison. With attempts to shut down gun stores and close down the ability of people to obtain firearms and ammunition for self-defense, [this is] what you would expect.”