Gun Purchases Skyrocket During Coronavirus Lockdown Orders

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Gun purchases have skyrocketed during the three-month period since most states instituted lockdown orders in response to the CCP coronavirus pandemic. March showed the highest year-over-year increase, with 80% more first-time gun purchases than March 2019. The first four months of 2020 saw an overall increase in gun purchases of 48% over the same period the previous year.


The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reports:

NICS figures [showed] year-over-year increases of 80 percent in March and 69 percent in April 2020. These strong increases led to more than 6.5 million NSSF-adjusted background checks in the first four months of 2020, up 48 percent from 4.4 million during the same period in 2019.

Private research firm Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF) published a report picked up by the Washington Times:

Gun sales surged in May as shops reported an uptick in interest and demand amid national protests after the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd and as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc and stoke fear across the country.

“Almost, you couldn’t even keep up with it. That’s how crazy it was,” said Joe Hawk, owner of Guns & Roses in New Jersey. “After Memorial Day, it spiked again. It just went crazy again.”

Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, a private research firm, estimated that more than 1.7 million guns were sold in May, an 80% jump from May 2019.

“Yet again, firearms sales have surged in unprecedented ways,” said Jurgen Brauer, the group’s chief economist.

Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, North Carolina, said the gun demand prompted by COVID-19 was already straining suppliers.

“Then you have this looting and rioting causing another demand, and it’s really putting pressure on inventory,” Mr. Hyatt said.

SAAF issued a followup statement from their chief economist, Jurgen Brauer, regarding a possible spike due to civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis:


SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer comments that “the media have expressed particular interest in whether or not the ongoing nation-wide unrest since the killing of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 25th, 2020 may have resulted in additional firearms sales. The NICS numbers through May 31st do not appear to bear out any such impression. In both May 2019 and May 2020 (see attached charts), one sees the regular weekly NICS cycle, without any observable unusual spike. The spike one does see is for March 20th, 2020, undoubtedly due to the global and national covid-19 crisis.”

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It’s important to note that the NICS numbers don’t correlate exactly to gun sales, as several states run background checks for concealed carry licensing as well as purchases. Nevertheless, the spike has remained consistent since mid-March, and anecdotal reports from gun retailers back it up.

Stephen Gutowski provided further detail at the Washington Free Beacon:

May is typically the slowest month of gun sales in the spring, but 2020’s record-setting monthly figures were down only slightly from April’s 1.8 million and March’s 2.5 million—the highest sales total ever recorded in a single month. Most surprising to observers is the fact that May 2020 saw more sales than both March and April of 2019. The record-setting sales pace has been driven in large part by new gun owners, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group.

“Our recent survey of firearm retailers shows us that 40 percent of these gun buyers are buying a firearm for the first time,” Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement. “Of those first-time gun owners, 40 percent are women and these buyers are overwhelmingly purchasing handguns for personal protection.”

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Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available now at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.

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