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Report: Gun sales surged 80% in May

Gun counter at Cabelas. (Sean Savage/Flickr)
June 03, 2020

Gun sales rose more than 80 percent in May compared to the same time last year, an increase thought to be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the more recent civil unrest stemming from the death of George Floyd.

In May 2020, total firearm sales shot up to more than 1.7 million units, which was an 80.2 percent increase from May 2019, according to a report from Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (SAAF) published on Monday. Handgun sales went up 94 percent compared to the same period last year, while long-barrel firearm sales went up 65.3 percent, according to the report.

“We’re seeing many first-time gun buyers. This is just unprecedented. Two things are at work here: The pandemic has forced many to rethink their reliance on others to provide them security. Additionally, many people are seeing what government overreach looks like. This is exactly the type of situation the Second Amendment was written to address,” said Justin Anderson, the marketing director for Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the nation’s largest gun stores.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has also played a factor in the increased gun sales. According to Hyatt Guns owner Larry Hyatt, the demand was already putting a strain on suppliers.

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

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Gun sales had increased 71 percent in April.

Joe Hawk, owner of Guns & Roses in New Jersey, also said he “couldn’t keep up with it. That’s how crazy it was.”

“After Memorial Day, it spiked again. It just went crazy again,” he added, noting the dramatic spike in sales since riots began around the country in response to the death of George Floyd. Many people — both citizens and first responders — have been injured amid violent protests, and some have even died.

While the coronavirus-induced recession has caused people to buy many supplies and horde them, those supplies have reached global headlines for being more common household items, such as toilet paper. Others have taken to purchase firearms and ammunition in the event that the more chaos should ensue in such uncertain times.

“There’s economic worry, there’s crime worry, and then you got the worry of the coronavirus — it’s [a] triple whammy,” Hyatt said.

Many recent events have helped spike firearm and ammunition sales, including proposed legislation that would ban certain firearms and even rhetoric used by the Democratic Party 2020 presidential candidates.

In Virginia, stores saw a dramatic spike in sales when the Democratic-controlled legislature almost passed one of the most significant pieces of gun-control legislation that would have banned what it called “assault” weapons and magazines that hold more than 12 rounds. One store in Virginia saw its sales rise nearly 200 percent.

However, That bill was struck down by the Virginia State Senate, as a few of the Democrat lawmakers thought the bill went too far on infringing a citizen’s Second Amendment rights.

“The only other person that was a better salesman right now is when we had President [Barack] Obama,” the owner of the story, Jerry Rapp said. “Every time [Obama] turned around he was going to ban something or make something illegal. But even that isn’t even close to the amount of sales we’re selling right now of magazines, of guns, of every kind of gun from pistol, rifle, shotguns, to AR platforms.”