Gun sales go up as the pandemic takes hold

Photo courtesy LA Times

When Americans feel unprotected, they often purchase firearms. Gun sales have increased rapidly since the spring and the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

2020 has been a year of tremendous disorder and tragedy. Amid the deadly virus that has killed more than 200 million nationwide, police brutality, ethnic injustices and mass racial violence at protest have also put fear on the rise. According to a New York Times analysis of federal data, Americans purchased approximately 2 million firearms in March.

“I don’t feel safe. Black women are being preyed on like animals. It’s a blessing to make it home safely these days because you never know what events can take place. Sex trafficking is a serious issue so it’s important that women protect themselves at all cost,” Florida A&M University alumna Rickayla Mitchell said.

March was the second most active month ever for gun sales, trailing behind former President Barack Obama’s re-election in January 2013. The monthly sales reports are estimates based on the number of background checks disclosed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI has been publishing the data since 1998.

“Due to the pandemic a lot of people have been on edge for survival, so having personal protection against any threat is needed. I felt it was appropriate to obtain my gun license to secure the safety of my family,” Florida State University alum Jontrell Jones said.

Private transactions established at gun shows, online marketplaces or social media are excluded from federal background checks. Private sales are only illegal if the buyer fails to meet the appropriate criteria and the dealer knowingly sells a gun to a restricted person.

“I highly recommend knowing your rights as a gun owner. It comes with a lot of responsibility and you must be extremely careful when carrying a weapon. Do not get a gun unless you are a hundred percent ready for one and qualify,” Mitchell said.

Several proposals have been presented concerning stricter security measures on firearms. Advocates believe there is a safety threat from buyers who aren’t trained accurately, if weapons aren’t stored carefully and when background checks aren’t completed. In March, the Trump administration acknowledged gun stores as an essential business, granting them the authority to remain open during the lockdown alongside pharmacies, gas stations and grocery stores.