Report: As the coronavirus pandemic grows, gun sales are surging in many states

The Los Angeles Times is reporting an increase in sales of firearms nationwide, especially in areas that are experiencing the surge of coronavirus cases first.

From the article:

Gun sales are surging in many U.S. states, especially in those hit hardest by the coronavirus — California, New York and Washington. But there’s also been an uptick in less-affected areas, with some first-time gun buyers fearing an unraveling of the social order and some gun owners worried that the government might use its emergency powers to restrict gun purchases.

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In California, would-be customers formed a long line outside the Martin B. Retting gun shop in Culver City on Sunday, just as others had Saturday.

“Politicians and anti-gun people have been telling us for the longest time that we don’t need guns,” said John Gore, 39, part of the crush of customers Saturday. “But right now, a lot of people are truly scared, and they can make that decision themselves.”

The article quotes various reports which say that the surge in gun sales started several weeks ago in states such as Washington and California, and included large numbers of Asian Americans, some fearful of anti-Asian backlash over the coronavirus.

“It’s everybody,” said Liu, adding that his major suppliers are out of stock, making it impossible to reorder. “It’s not only California, it’s the whole nation that’s cleaned out…. It’s like toilet paper.”

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“It’s not like an active panic, more a preoccupation with making sure everyone is adequately prepared, myself and family and friends,” she said. “Better to be prepared and not need it than need it and not have it.”

"Better to be prepared and not to need it than need it and not have it." Our country's founders adopted the Second Amendment to the Constitution with exactly that mind-set in view. They wanted American citizens to be prepared to defend against the potential of a tyrannical government, hoping that they would never, ever need it. That hope - and the need to be prepared - remains today.

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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NICS Experiences Unprecedented Volume Increase

FFLs Must Consider Closures, Reduced Staff Effects on Three Business Day Delays

As our nation continues to navigate its response to the COVID-19, we recognize the firearm industry, like many other industries, is being impacted. NSSF® is aware of delays within the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) System. We want you to know the FBI is on the job and working diligently to address the dramatic response and increase in background checks experienced over the past few days. Just yesterday, Monday, March 16, 2020, the NICS staff experienced over a 300% increase compared to this same time period in 2019. As we’ve seen in the past with other national events, our citizens often seek to exercise their Second Amendment rights during times of uncertainty. Therefore transparent communication remains a top priority.

According to NICS, there are delays in the system due to an astronomical volume of transactions over the last several days. While much of the NICS System is automated and yields an immediate “proceed” or “deny” determination, transactions that result in a delayed status require the work of NICS examiners to investigate whether the transaction should be approved or not. With daily volumes roughly double that of last year, the NICS team is unable to begin investigations on all delays within three business days, creating a backlog in the delayed checks. 

Some states offices and agencies are considering options to protect the health and safety of their employees, which may include a reduction in staff or a temporary closure. If you operate in one of these areas and if you receive a delayed response from the NICS, please note the Brady transfer date provided to you by the FBI could be extended beyond the normal three business days. The three business day timeframe does not begin until relevant state offices are open for business. Additionally, because of the dramatic increase in volume, it is important to recognize FBI staff may not be able to begin their research on delayed transactions as they normally would. Therefore, you may want to consider waiting on a definitive response from the NICS before opting to proceed with a sale on any delayed transaction. We are operating during exceptional and uncertain times, so you may wish to consider implementing temporary changes in order to safeguard yourself and your business. However, please note that when state offices are closed it does not constitute a “business day” for purposes of calculating the “three business days” period before an FFL may transfer a firearm to a non-licensee as mandated by the Brady Act.

The NICS Section is working overtime to get through the backlog and we appreciate their hard work and open communication. NSSF will continue to communicate with NICS and our members to ensure operations move forward as smoothly as possible during this period. 

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Additional Information:

For Some Buyers With Virus Fears, the Priority Isn’t Toilet Paper. It’s Guns.

Virus fears fuel spike in sales of guns and ammunition

Ohio Gun Stores Jammed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Guns, ammunition flying off shelves of local shops

Shops describe 'pandemonium' as residents rush to stock up on guns, ammo

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