Across America, people are hitting their local gun shops for ammo and firearms. In Florida, background checks for gun purchases have soared. Gabrielle CaliseLangston Taylor report for the Tampa Bay Times:
Toilet paper and hand sanitizer aren’t the only things Floridians are stocking up during the coronavirus pandemic.
People across the state are rushing to buy more guns.
At Bill Jackson’s Shop For Adventure in Pinellas Park, salespeople worked through lunch Monday, selling ammunition, handguns and shotguns.
“Just about everybody buying is concerned about security and they don’t know what to expect,” said Joseph Newton, a store manager. “Same thing I imagine with people emptying the shelves in the grocery store … Nobody really knows.”
Florida Department of Law Enforcement data shows that is exactly what’s happening.
Buying a gun in Florida requires undergoing a background check, which screens for criminal convictions, among other red flags. So the number of background checks is a good proxy for tracking firearm sales, although people can buy more than one gun at a time.
In recent days, the number of background checks in Florida has gone through the roof.
Florida isn’t the only state seeing a spike in gun purchases. Pennsylvania shops are also seeing a rush for ammo before they are closed. Jen Kinney reports for Keystone Crossroads:
Gun shops across Pennsylvania have been packed this week, with shoppers buying up ammunition and firearms as uncertainty about the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic continued and Governor Wolf ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state by midnight on Monday.
At some shops, lines stretched out the door.
“It’s insane right now, I’ve got three lines going,” said Jeff Rodemyer, owner of Bluestone Firearms in York.
“The whole shop is filled up,” said Joe Staudt, owner of Staudt’s Gun Shop in Harrisburg. He estimates he’s ten times busier than normal.
Staudt plans to keep slinging ammo as long as he can. “The governor said midnight. So we’re going to stay open as long as the background check system is working,” he said.
Store owners in South Philadelphia, Holmesburg, and Bucks County also described long lines and a spike in sales. “This is the highest gun sales we’ve seen in a very long time,” said an employee at a store in Southampton, before hanging up to deal with the crowds.
You may be wondering why Americans are desperate to buy guns when the crisis they currently face–coronavirus–is so small it can’t even be seen, let alone shot. Insider’s Haven Orecchio-Egresitz reports that they are afraid of looting, and uncertainty. She writes:
Some who fear that the closures will lead to looting have started to stock up on weapons, according to USA Today.
Ralph Charette, 71, spent $1,500 at a gun shop in Germantown, Wisconsin, after he saw aggressive shoppers at the grocery store, according to the paper.
“There’s so much uncertainty and paranoia but you’ve got to protect your own,” Charette said.
Despite a firearm’s power, it is not a magical object that will protect you from all harm. You need to know how to use it properly. If you are one of America’s new gun owners, get some training as soon as you can. You’ll be glad you did.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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