Guns, Tactical Gear Sales Up Over Covid-19 Fears

Yesterday, I mentioned that a lot of Asians in Southern California are buying up guns based on fears they’ll be blamed for the Covid-19 virus that’s causing panic and a certain degree of hysteria throughout the nation. While it’s stupid to blame them for the virus–these are Americans, for crying out loud–I understand their concerns. People get stupid when they get scared.

However, it’s not just Asians buying up guns, apparently. And it’s not just guns being sold, either.

Stores across the country selling ballistic body armor, tactical gear, and firearms are seeing a huge increase in sales due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak in the US.

As of Thursday, the US had more than 1,323 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic. Italy, as well as New Rochelle, New York, have gone into lockdown, and many major companies have urged their employees to self-quarantine. On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump announced the US would be suspending travel from much of Europe to the United States for at least 30 days.

Bracing for the worst, Americans are stockpiling face masks, nonperishables, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. Prepper and survivalist stores have also seen a massive increase in sales.

According to Matt Materazo, the founder of Gladiator Solutions, a ballistic body armor and tactical outfitting store, the coronavirus outbreak has changed the kind of orders his store has received. He said typically the majority of his business has been big bulk orders from the law enforcement and the first responder communities. Now, it’s a lot of small orders.

“We don’t usually get these one, two sales,” he told BuzzFeed News. “They’re not particularly preppers, they’re people who are seeing what’s going on and saying to themselves, ‘where is this going?’”

Materazo wouldn’t share specific sales numbers, but said the increase has been considerable. “I do of course get a certain amount of my business from the prepper community, but the majority of the uptick isn’t coming from the prepper community, it’s the general civilian population,” he said.

It’s not very hard to understand why.

Even if Covid-19 turns out to be a big old nothing, there is still the potential for second-order effects. China, for example, effectively shut down for several weeks. No manufacturing was happening. Nothing was moving.

And where do we get a lot of goods from? That’s right. China.

That’s causing some logistical problems here in the United States already. Couple that with some Americans not being able to work and you have people not being able to pay their bills, buy food, and take care of other essentials. It’s not difficult to see that leading to civil unrest as people lash out in anger over their predicaments.

Civil unrest can easily be violent civil unrest.

I’m not saying this will happen. I’m simply saying I can see it happening far too easily. I mean, think about the riots we’ve had because people didn’t like who got elected president. Imagine how it would be if people had hungry children at home and no way to get food for them because the grocery stores were empty?

So yeah, I can see people who ordinarily wouldn’t bother with body armor picking up a set or two. I can see them buying firearms and stocking up on ammunition. I can see ranges being busy places, too, as folks knock the rust off their marksmanship skills.

Plus, let’s couple this with the previous concerns of a civil war brought about by gun-grabbing politicians and it’s almost a perfect storm for people buying gear like this.

It’s probably a good thing for the industry, but the question really becomes whether it’s a good thing for the nation or not.