Coronavirus

Coronavirus: US citizens buying more guns amid pandemic

People in the United States are purchasing record-breaking numbers of guns amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to government data.

Coronavirus: US citizens buying more guns amid pandemic
Karen Ducey AFP

People in the United States have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by inundating gun stores, according to new government data on the number of background checks conducted in March. More than 3.7m total firearm background checks were conducted through the FBI’s background check system last month, the highest number on record in more than 20 years.

An estimated 2.4 million of those background checks were conducted for gun sales, which represents an 80% increase compared to the same month last year. Nearly 1.2 million firearms background checks were conducted in a single week starting from March 16 according to FBI data.

Americans can buy multiple guns from a licensed gun dealer with a single background check, meaning that the number of checks conducted does not reflect the total number of guns sold. There is also little the FBI can do to track how many guns were bought and sold privately over the past month.

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Why are people buying so many guns?

According to Amy Hunter from the National Rifle Association, the increase in firearms purchases is because United States citizens feel that at the end of the day they are responsible for their own security.

Americans also feel that that in case of a threat in an emergency they can protect their families or loved ones if they have access to firearms. People who oppose this point of view have accused gun stores of benefiting from the coronavirus pandemic and that the spike in firearms sales may serve only to provoke violence.