The month of March was a banner one for the firearm industry. In a single month, they may have completely shrugged off the so-called Trump Slump thanks to a nasty little bug called COVID-19. People armed up for various reasons, but many circle back to the disease. Some thought they’d be blamed for the virus. Others are concerned about civil disorder during the disease and the potential economic crash that may well follow the virus.
But April wasn’t exactly looking to be a slouch, either. Folks at the gun stores were telling me that sales were still up compared to this time last year, from 1.5 to three times as brisk, according to one store’s estimate.
And what do you know, the stimulus checks happened. Guess what followed?
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported a huge increase in people seeking firearm background check requests on the day the stimulus check arrived.
Last Wednesday, the TBI received 3,917 requests for a firearm background check on the day most people received their stimulus check from the federal government. In comparison, On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, the TBI received just 972 requests.
“We did see a large amount of sales that were not typical for our store this time of the year,” said Art Cason, the general manager of Royal Range USA in Bellevue.
He said they saw a 25% to 30% increase in guns and ammunition sales when the quarantine first started and then another spike when the stimulus check hit people’s accounts.
“The ammunition was a lot like the toilet paper situation at the grocery stores,” said Cason.
Many were clearly first time buyers.
Cason likened it to when tax refunds arrive, which makes sense. People have a larger chunk of change in their pockets and they tend to want to spend it on something big. Guns aren’t inexpensive, with even the low-end handguns running over $100. Anything with a good reputation is at least several times that.
Because of that, many people only get guns or other big-ticket items when they get that influx.
The stimulus check worked pretty much the same way. Especially since it may have been many times greater than the tax refund.
Cason notes that a lot of the buyers had never even fired a gun.
Of course, this is just one place, but it stands to reason that such an influx happened in many other places. It seems that Americans are concerned, as they should be. It also seems that for all the bluster about how support for gun ownership was waning, all it took is one good disaster for people to change their tunes.
I, for one, am grateful they did. I welcome them to the firearm community and encourage them to learn and interact with us. They’ll see that we’re not who the media has tried to make us out to be. We’re not bigots and racists or any of that. We’re just ordinary Americans who believe in preserving our rights–all our rights–in the face of a government intent on taking them away.
That should resonate with those who bought guns in anti-gun states and had to jump through a ridiculous set of hoops to get their guns.