Gun sales in the United States have reportedly skyrocketed to “unprecedented levels” since the novel coronavirus mandated lockdowns instituted this past spring. A majority of sales have been by first-time purchasers, suggesting that citizens are fearful of the current climate in the country.
According to CNN Business, around 40 percent of sales were from customers who had never owned a firearm before. That is a two-thirds increase from the average first-time purchasing rate of 24 percent.
Many of the new customers are African-Americans and women. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, firearm ownership among Black households is up by a staggering 58 percent, which was described as “unprecedented.”
“We’ve never seen a year-over-year increase that large in African-American gun buyers,” noted Mark Oliva, the foundation’s director of public affairs.
“It is the largest demographic increase we’ve seen. People that are buying guns today look a whole lot less like me and a whole lot more like the rest of America,” he added (Oliva identifies as white).
Douglas Jefferson, vice president of the National African American Gun Association, an advocacy group, added that his organization has also seen a rise in membership — with 5,000 new members joining over the past few months.
Jefferson has identified several reasons behind the trend. One is concern about white supremacy and racist violence against Black people, such as the attack on Ahmaud Arbery earlier this year.
“There’s a greater awareness of it and concern for it and people wanting to protect themselves and their families against it,” he said.
NAAGA member Luther Thompson cited the rising levels of crime that have plagued cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. For example, shootings in the Big Apple have increased by 127 percent, while homicides have increased by three-quarters.
Thompson also expressed concerns about the riots that followed some of the Black Lives Matter protests, which were often based in minority-heavy neighborhoods.
“People are worried about people stealing from other people, breaking into homes,” he explained.
“There’s a greater awareness of it and concern for it and people wanting to protect themselves and their families against it,” he added.
The number of women purchasing firearms has also increased 40 percent, despite the fact that women generally favor stricter gun-control laws. In fact, Oliva claimed that the biggest sale increases have been in states with strict laws concerning gun ownership.
The reports come as citizens across the country have expressed fears about violence and riots following the 2020 presidential election. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, police in cities such as Los Angeles and New York are already preparing for potential clashes.