Americans Rush To Buy Firearms As COVID-19 Stokes Fear Of Unrest

First it was food, now it's guns.

Americans worried about the impact of coronavirus have been lining up at gun stores across the country, arming themselves as fear of social unrest and food shortages have sparked a surge in preparedness.

Gun store in Culver City, California

Lines could be seen stretching around the block at gun stores in California, New York and Washington - the states currently most affected by COVID-19.

Lengthy lines formed outside the Martin Retting Guns store in Culver City, California, on Sunday morning, before the store opened. People said the line Saturday was so long, extending around the block, so they decided to come back and try again. -USA Today

"People are scared," said Drew Plotkin of Los Angeles. "There’s a lot of panic in the world and people want to be protected for the worst-case scenario."

And thanks to California's 10-day waiting period, worried residents - who we can only hope know how to properly handle the guns they just bought - will be without their protection for over a week.

Gun store in Burbank, CA (via the Daily Mail)

John Gore, 39, who lined up outside the Martin B. Retting store on Saturday, told the LA Times: ‘Politicians and anti-gun people have been telling us for the longest time that we don’t need guns. 

'But right now, a lot of people are truly scared, and they can make that decision themselves.’ 

Anna - who had never bought a gun before - said: 'It’s not like an active panic, more a preoccupation with making sure everyone is adequately prepared, myself and family and friends. -Daily Mail

Meanwhile, sporting goods company Omaha Outdoors says they've been "inundated with inquiries from out-of-state folks - many from California - asking if we can ship them a gun directly. The answer is, of course, no. Despite what politicians and many in popular media claim, you can't buy a gun online and have it shipped to your house."

We’re not alone in noticing that usually anti-gun people are suddenly very interested in having guns. On Twitter, Robert Evans wrote, “The sheer number of normally anti-gun people who have reached out to me about buying a firearm in the last week is wild.”

And my friends who work at other gun stores have seen a crazy surge in gun buying too, with one noting that their one-day sales total exceeded Black Friday by 25%, and that 75% of buyers were purchasing their first gun. He said, in explanation, “People need to protect their toilet paper.” Another friend noted that the amount of brass cased 9mm they usually sell in a month was gone in the first week, and that everything else would be sold out soon too if things continued at this pace. -Omaha Outdoors

Last week we reported that worried Asians in east LA have been loading up on weapons out of fear they'll be targeted in COVID-19 related hate crimes. We also reported last week that the first possible  coronavirus-related hate crime in America had occurred after an Asian man was stabbed numerous times, all caught on camera, on a Brooklyn, New York street.