Los Angeles: Gun sales have exploded in the United States in the last two weeks as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, with people stocking up on weapons and ammunition out of fear the pandemic might lead to social unrest.
“We have had about an 800 per cent increase in sales,” said David Stone, owner of ‘Dong’s Guns, Ammo and Reloading’ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “I’m still not out of any calibre but I’m getting close to running out,” added Stone.
He also said that that the overall majority of customers rushing to stock up on firearms and ammunition are first-time buyers grabbing anything available. “It’s fear over coronavirus,” Stone said. “I don’t understand it myself and I think it’s unreasonable.”
Several other store owners across the United States said they have also seen a surge in sales as people fear social order will unravel if the health and economic crisis caused by the virus escalates.
Tiffany Teasdale, owner of ‘Lynnwood Gun’, located in the state of Washington, one of the states hardest hit by the virus, said she has seen a massive uptick in sales with customers lining up an hour before the store opens.
“We used to have on what we would call busy days, 20 to 25 firearms being sold,” said Teasdale, who has hired a bouncer to keep everyone in check. “Today, we are seeing upwards of 150. Shotguns are in shortage across the country, along with ammunition for them as well as ammunition for handguns. A lot of people are buying shotguns, handguns, AR-15 (semi-automatic rifles), everything,” added Teasdale.
Like Stone, she said most of her customers are first-time buyers who undergo background checks and, if need be, are given a quick course on how to handle their purchase.
“We have men, women, young, middle-aged, older, everybody buying guns,” Teasdale informed. “And all ethnic backgrounds – black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic,” she added. Teasdale also said one customer who came into the store recently decided it was time to arm himself after he witnessed two women fighting over the last case of bottled water at a store.