The rich and famous in Beverly Hills are panic-buying guns and ammo amid a dramatic increase in violent crime.
Los Angeles Magazine spoke with Beverly Hills Guns owner Russell Stuart who said, "since opening in July 2020, the store has seen upscale residents from Santa Monica to the Hollywood Hills increasingly in a panic following several high-profile smash-and-grab and violent home invasion robberies."
Stuart told the magazine that "prominent actors, real estate moguls and film execs" flock to his store to load up on self-defense firearms.
"This morning, I sold six shotguns in about an hour to people that say, 'I want a home defense shotgun,'" he said. "Everyone has a general sense of constant fear, which is very sad. We're used to this being like Mayberry." Mayberry is the name of an idyllic fictional town from "The Andy Griffith Show."
The recent string of high-profile retail robberies and home burglaries has sent many Beverly Hillers into a panic. Wealthy folks are also purchasing bulletproof cars, safe rooms, employing armed guards, and even constructing walls with barbed wire around their properties.
The issue of violent crime is nothing new to Los Angeles, but a spillover to upscale neighborhoods has put elites on edge. The increase in crime stems from an alarming cocktail of criminal justice reforms. For instance, thieves can steal up to $950 in goods and receive a slap on the wrist, the equivalent of a traffic ticket. Criminal gangs have taken advantage of relaxed laws and have recently gone on a wave of retailer smash and grab robberies. There have also been high-profile robberies of elites.
When philanthropist Jacqueline Avant was murdered in her Beverly Hills mansion last month, that was a cue for the rich and famous to flock to gun stores for protection.