"The jump has no precedent in recorded history..." is how one analyst described the stunning surge in estimated firearm sales indicated by data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System latest report.
While actual gun purchases aren’t tracked in the U.S., the FBI system is largely considered a proxy for sales by the firearms industry and the table shows a 41% surge year-over-year (and a 33% spike month-over-month).
Jurgen Brauer, chief economist at Small Arms Analytics, told Bloomberg News, that handgun sales increased 91.1% year-over-year, per Brauer’s analysis, and long-gun sales were up 73.6%.
“We expect continued positive headline growth numbers in coming months as Covid-19 uncertainty lingers,” Brett Andress, a firearms industry analyst at KeyBank Capital, wrote in a note on Wednesday afternoon, according to Bloomberg.
What does that look like?
The last time demand for protection even came close to this was the last three months of 2015 as a spate of mass shootings in the US put tougher gun controls back in the national spotlight.
The motivation for this sudden surge is evidently a concern that the current (and expanding) lockdown being enforced across The Land of The Free is rapidly transformed into a far more tyrannical control over Americans' constitutional rights.
“The government is trying to do everything it can to keep society intact. But if society is unraveling, it’s up to us to protect ourselves,” said Andrew Dominguez, 36, a real estate agent in Pacifica who waited near the end of the slow-moving line to buy ammo for his shotgun.
John Chen, 40, agreed. He lives in Oakland but has construction outlets around the Bay Area, including in Pacifica. He was at City Arms to buy his first pistol for personal defense.
“This virus gave me the motivation,” Chen said.
“I’ve always wanted to have a gun, but I’ve been lazy. I see the news now, and the outbreak and the chaos.”
Jackson Lu, 24, came bounding out of the gun store, carrying a new $500 Glock 19 in its black plastic case. He wasn’t about to open it to show it off, though.
“I feel like there’s a lot of crazy stuff happening around the world,” he said. “I want to feel safe.”
Don't think it could happen?
As a reminder, just last week, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva attempted to shutdown all gun stores (on the basis of safety concerns).
However, facing a lawsuit over his controversial decision, he has now changed his mind, citing a federal ruling that gun stores are considered “essential.”
The post-COVID-19 future is looking grim: economic collapse, censorship, production control, soaring surveillance, and increasingly martial law. So which dystopian future are we headed for?
It’s not like we weren’t warned humanity was heading south, however, and there’s a lot more doomsaying to explore beyond Orwell and Huxley...and, as Helen Boyniski notes, our curious historical moment owes just as much to some lesser-known nightmare futures, and since we’re all stuck indoors under coronavirus quarantine, we might as well get familiar with the ins and outs of some of these lesser-known dystopias.
At the very least, it will prepare us for what might be in store post-pandemic.
As we detailed earlier, it's only matter of time before this lockdown of American - leaving citizens jobless, broke, and without options - become the flashpoint that leads to an explosion of civil unrest and violent crime.