Sales of guns, ammunition, and “survival gear” are skyrocketing this week, amid concerns that the coronavirus could lead to breakdown in civil order or even a suspension of weapons sales, according to Business Insider.
Stores specializing in the “sales of survival gear like ready-to-eat meals, guns and ammunition” are experiencing a boom, and some retailers are even struggling to keep such items in stock.
“We’re bringing pallets (of MREs) up all the time now, and even our supplier in Southern California is having trouble keeping them in stock,” one California gun retailer told a local television station.
“It’s clear our customers want to be prepared in a worst-case scenario,” another retailer told the NRA’s news service, per BI. “For a lot of our families, a disaster plan includes having ammo on hand.”
In some cases, retailers say they’re selling “twice as much” or even five times as much ammunition as they were before coronavirus began making headlines. “Sales on Ammo.com, an online ammunition store, were 68 percent greater from Feb. 23 to March 4 than they were the preceding 11 days, the company said in a press release. Residents in North Carolina and Georgia had the biggest increase in sales on the website,” Business Insider, says.
“It’s an unknown, so there are people that are concerned,” a gun retailer told the outlet, referring directly to coronavirus. “In those times of uncertainty, people have a reaction to make sure they want to protect themselves and their families, and I think that’s what we’re seeing especially here in our store.”
“If you’re prepared, you’re not afraid,” he added.
Even people who never considered owning a firearm are suddenly finding themselves in the market for a gun.
“People who tell me that they don’t like guns, but they’re here to begrudgingly buy one,” a retailer told the same California TV outlet. “And if it makes somebody feel safe and they’re legal to own one, then sure.”
Among gun owners, there’s a growing concern that states may try to restrict the sale of firearms if individuals fail to heed to commands to “social distance” and remain indoors, away from crowds, in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. Although the idea sounds outlandish, some cities and towns have incorporated the ability to limit firearm and alcohol sales into their enumerated powers when those same cities and towns are under a state of emergency.
The mayor of Champaign, Illinois, Deborah Frank Feinen, sent tempers flaring earlier this week after she “signed the executive order on Thursday declaring a state of emergency for the city,” the Washington Examiner reported. “That executive order, which is in line with municipal code, comes with extraordinary powers for the mayor to enact over a short period of time as the city combats the spread of the coronavirus.”
“Among the powers Feinen gained after signing the executive order was the power to ban the sale of guns, ammunition, alcohol, and gasoline. Feinen could also cut off access to individuals’ gas, water, or electricity. The city also has the ability to ‘take possession of private property’ or order the temporary closing of all bars or liquor stores.”
Feinen says she won’t exercise the power to confiscate weapons or ban firearms sales but the edict remains on the books.