California Gun Sales Skyrocketing, Media Asks Why?

California Gun Sales Skyrocketing, Media Asks Why?
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky

California has a reputation as the most anti-gun state in the nation and for a very good reason. It’s hard to imagine too many gun control measures that wouldn’t gain support in the state. They don’t like guns there unless Hollywood is the ones with them and you’re not going to change their minds about it.

Or, you weren’t, anyway.

Like pretty much everywhere else, Californians are buying guns at a prodigious rate. It’s made some in the media ask just why would such a liberal state completely embrace guns so suddenly?

A surge in gun sales — fueled by economic insecurity, racial and political unrest and the pandemic — isn’t slowing down in California, home to some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

About 1.17 million new guns were registered in California in 2020, and as many as 369,000 people went through the state’s firearms background check process for the first time, according to newly released state data filed in federal court. The numbers are the latest evidence that Californians went on a gun-buying spree last year.

It was the most gun sales since 2016. State data shows that 1.28 million guns changed hands that year in California as buyers stocked up on firearms in advance of a host of new laws voters and the state legislature approved that year and amid fears that Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and pass new gun regulations.


Gavin Jeffries, 28, of Fair Oaks was a first-time buyer last year. He said he’d been meaning to pick up a 9 mm Glock for home defense for a while, but the rush on guns in 2020 had him worried he’d lose out.

“I was nervous that there was going to be a big delay in purchasing firearms just because of the backlog with popular guns like Glock pistols,” he said. “And I’d always planned on getting a Glock; it was just more of a timing thing.”

Stacy Williams, 44, of Fresno also bought her first gun last year — also a 9 mm — but for drastically different reasons.

She’s a local progressive activist who says she got worried last year after seeing a surge in white supremacists in the Fresno area, and she said she has been troubled by police officers appearing to side with the Proud Boys, suspicions that were confirmed Monday when the mayor said one of them was under investigation for being a member of the group.

Now, Williams is an interesting case and one I really want to address. I mean, while I suspect Jeffries is more indicative of much of the increased gun sales, Williams is the one that I think we need to talk about.

She’s a progressive activist. She probably disagrees with me on just about everything politically. Yet when she believed something represented a threat to her, she didn’t call the police. She didn’t trust the police. She armed herself.

While I’m sure I disagree with her on plenty, I don’t disagree this was the smart move.

See, even if I think here fears are unreasonable, that doesn’t negate them. It also doesn’t necessarily mean she’s wrong. She’s the one in the best position to determine whether or not she’s in need of a firearm. So, she used that judgment and purchased one.

Good for her.

Yet it’s funny how many of her fellow progressives can badmouth police out of one side of their mouth and, out of the other, demand we give up our guns and trust our security to those very same police. It makes absolutely no sense.

I don’t know Williams, so maybe she does it as well, but in this instance, she did exactly what I think anyone with concerns should do. They should be proactive about their own safety and get a firearm.

In the meantime, gun sales don’t appear to be slowing down much in California or anywhere else.