Why Americans are buying more guns than ever

Why Americans are buying more guns than ever

In recent months, Americans have been on a record gun-buying spree.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice demonstrations, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, reports that gun sales were 8.5 million from March through July. This is 94% higher than in the same timeframe in 2019.

Consultants in the weapons industry report that July sales alone were 2.0 million units, a 136 percent improvement over July 2019.

The number of background checks performed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is based on these figures. The FBI announced that since the agency started collecting data in 1998, eight of the weeks in this period are in the top 10 maximum weeks.

Usually, gun sales have seasonal patterns, with more guns being sold in the winter months and rising in presidential election years and after high-profile mass shootings. The 2020 pandemic, however, sparked a record-setting increase in firearms demand.

In March, when lockout orders started in the U.S., gun sales first spiked. Following nationwide demonstrations over George Floyd’s killing, the figures jumped again in June.

Our study looks at the culture of American guns and provides insights into the dynamic relationship between Americans and guns. We think there are three general explanations why individuals are now buying guns.

Why Americans are buying more guns than ever
Why Americans are buying more guns than ever

Independence and security

Independence and security is one the reasons Why Americans are buying more guns than ever

In recent months, Americans have been on a record gun-buying spree.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice demonstrations, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, reports that gun sales were 8.5 million from March through July. This is 94% higher than in the same timeframe in 2019.

Consultants in the weapons industry report that July sales alone were 2.0 million units, a 136 percent improvement over July 2019.

The number of background checks performed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is based on these figures. The FBI announced that since the agency started collecting data in 1998, eight of the weeks in this period are in the top 10 maximum weeks.

Usually, gun sales have seasonal patterns, with more guns being sold in the winter months and rising in presidential election years and after high-profile mass shootings. The 2020 pandemic, however, sparked a record-setting increase in firearms demand.

This theory is backed by data showing that more than 99% of recent sales are handguns, generally used for self-defense, and by studies showing that it can be driven by feelings that the world is normally unsafe to purchase a gun for self-defense.

Arms owners also find comfort and stability in routines. This suggests that current gun owners will buy extra weapons in an attempt to preserve a sense of normalcy.

Market signals and forces

Another explanation concerns the conditions of the market. Governors opted to include gun stores as “essential companies,” allowing them to stay open in March and April during several statewide closures.

This enhanced the credibility of gun and gun dealers in the U.S. by improving, as needed and required, the expectations of gun transactions.

In the meantime, weapons stores have struggled to keep in stock guns, ammunition and accessories. They may feel a sense of urgency to buy as customers face shortages, and they may be willing to travel farther, pay more or purchase a different item than they had originally sought.

Social connection and recreation

Finally, weapons will have a concrete social link base. A well-established concept in market research is social bonding through consumption.

By acting as a social hub and offering expertise on unique goods, retailers promote this. Consumers may also be able to feel socially linked to like-minded others by visiting a weapons store and purchasing a gun.

In terms of unintended shootings, going to shooting ranges and hunting are lower-risk operations, according to our study. We speculate that since these practices can be conducted outdoors, they may also entail lower risk for transmission of COVID-19 when wearing masks and with distance between people.

The use of a gun against a virus or rioters in distant cities may be challenged by Americans who have not entered the buying frenzy. Citizens want to feel linked, safe and autonomous during a time of crisis. Buying guns for some Americans can help them do so.

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