March 16, 2020

For Some Buyers With Virus Fears, the Priority Isnt Toilet Paper. Its Guns
Daniel Hill had never bought a gun before. But last week he was in Larry Hyatt's gun store in North Carolina, picking out two of them: a 9 mm Taurus handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.His motivation: the coronavirus.Hill, a 29-year-old kitchen manager in Charlotte, said he fears that the virus could lead to a breakdown of public order, with looting and robberies and "everything shutting down, like in a zombie movie" where society "just won't have any sense of lawfulness anymore."Gun and ammunition dealers said they've seen an influx of customers with similar concerns in recent weeks, creating a spike in sales as coronavirus anxiety spreads. Reports of firearms and survival gear flying off the shelves have been widespread, including in California, New York, Washington state, Alabama and Ohio. Photos on Twitter over the weekend showed lines around the block at one Los Angeles gun shop.Some dealers said an unusually high proportion of sales have been to first-time gun buyers."We attribute it mainly to the virus scare," said Hyatt, whose gun store has seen sales increase 30% to 40% percent since late February.The presidential election and stock market fluctuations have also been driving business, he said, and the store is now selling more than 300 firearms a week."People have a little lack of confidence that if something big and bad happens, that 9-1-1 might not work. We saw it with Katrina," Hyatt said, referring to the breakdown in emergency response after the 2005 hurricane on the Gulf Coast. "People haven't forgotten that a disaster happened, and the government didn't come."Some major law enforcement agencies said they had not seen any sharp rise in firearms sales in recent weeks. Data from the FBI show a sizable increase in background checks for gun purchases since the start of the year, although other factors, such as the national political campaign and gun control efforts by some state legislatures, including Virginia, could also be driving them.Checks through the FBI system leapt 36% in February compared to the same month last year, to a total of 2.8 million nationally -- the largest year-over-year percentage increase in any month since July 2016 (another presidential election year). The agency processed more background checks in February than it had done in all but two other months since it started performing the queries in the late 1990s.January, when most confirmed cases of the virus were still mostly overseas, also saw a sizable increase in background checks, up 25% from the same month last year.The background check numbers for March -- when confirmed cases of the virus began to dramatically spike in the United States and public measures to slow it took hold -- won't be available for a few weeks.Licensed firearms dealers like Hyatt are required to run those queries with the FBI to ensure that would-be purchasers aren't convicted felons or otherwise barred from gun possession. Private sales, including through gun shows, online marketplaces or social media, are exempt from federal background checks, so any change there would be difficult to spot.Even before virus concerns escalated or the stock market plunged in recent weeks, national politics were likely playing a role in rising sales.Chuck Lowder, who picked up a rifle at Hyatt Guns last week, cited a testy confrontation between a construction worker in Detroit and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now leading in the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, about the candidate wanting to "take away our guns."Biden used a vulgarity to tell the worker that he was wrong. While the former vice president supports universal background checks and banning the sale of military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, he also supports many types of gun ownership and owns guns himself.Still, those moments can spur devotees to their favorite gun store, said Lowder, a retired brewery worker and truck driver who had come from Lenoir, North Carolina, to buy an AR-15."When you're told you can't have something, the first thing you want to do is get it," he said.Even so, Lowder also said that the "unreal" number of customers he saw in Hyatt's store last week was likely more about the fear of what could happen with the pandemic."When you're told that the coronavirus is going to get you, and the TV and everything is just swamped with it, people start believing it, and they get scared," he said, adding that he also bought 300 rounds of ammunition, triple what he normally would buy.Some ammunition suppliers said they also have seen a sharp jump in sales. Alex Horsman, the marketing manager at Ammo.com, said the past few weeks have marked the largest spike in orders in the five years he has been with the online company.The company said it recorded two-thirds more transactions in the 11 days after Feb. 22 -- when Google Trend indicates that search interest for "coronavirus" began a new surge -- than in the 11 days prior. Buyers in North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas led the increase in sales.As customers have been flooding into gun stores, demand appears to be outstripping supply among some wholesalers, said Andy Raymond, the owner of Engage Armament in Rockville, Maryland. "We're getting stuff from distributors who are saying, 'Hey, due to high volume, we're delayed in shipping.'"Hill, the first-time buyer in Charlotte, said he thinks society is a long way from the full breakdown that he fears might be coming because of the virus."But you can tell it's already taking a toll on everybody," he said. "If it were to keep going the way it is going, how bad could it get?"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
COVID Outbreak at Swingers Convention in New Orleans | TMZ TV
December 03, 2020
rRCrSAXQr_E
Ciara Celebrates Russell Wilson’s Birthday With Romantic Dinner Date | TMZ TV
December 02, 2020
iIrAZDxUAUM
South Korea Passes BTS Friendly Law for Mandatory Military Service | TMZ TV
December 02, 2020
YXAjAxkbBNY
‘RHOC’ star Braunwyn Windham-Burke reveals she is gay | Page Six Celebrity News
December 03, 2020
cat8sO88vP0
See the 'Jersey Shore' cast then and now | Page Six Celebrity News
December 03, 2020
CEUbfz2YGKU
John Mulaney: Secret Service investigated me for my ‘SNL’ joke | Page Six Celebrity News
December 03, 2020
om9B-vJ4VDg
BTS Army's Big Birthday Plans for Jin | E! News
December 03, 2020
vhh47EeqdCA
Justin Bieber, Addison Rae & More Get Pranked By Kardashians | E! News
December 03, 2020
iy_xkx0Np4g
Chrishell Stause & Keo Motsepe Fuel Romance Rumors | E! News
December 03, 2020
GQ529g89CAc
Hitmakers 2020 - Harry Styles, Blackpink, The Weeknd & More
December 03, 2020
2iJ3yqpzt_I
'Small Axe' Star Letitia Wright on Working With John Boyega, Recreating the Mangrove Nine Story
December 03, 2020
D66Oqt4wSp4
The Head and the Heart - Live from My Den
November 30, 2020
L0YrtwPIe44
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
02
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Middlesbrough - Swansea City
02
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Watford
02
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Millwall
02
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Luton - Norwich City
02
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Wycombe Wanderers - Stoke City
02
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Reading
01
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Preston NE
01
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
QPR - Bristol City
01
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Coventry
01
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Barnsley
01
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Brentford
01
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Cardiff City - Huddersfield
30
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Aston Villa
30
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Fulham
30
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Betis - Eibar
30
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Parma
30
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Sampdoria
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Tottenham Hotspur
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Roma
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Wolves
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Manchester United
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Osasuna
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Swansea City
29
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Hertha Berlin
29
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Hoffenheim
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Villarreal
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Granada CF
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Spezia
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Athletic Bilbao
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Crotone
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Udinese
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Bayern Munich
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Koln
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Alaves
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Liverpool
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Burnley
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Juventus
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Inter Milan
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Atletico Madrid
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - Schalke
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Sheffield United
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Verona
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Leeds
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Huesca - Sevilla
25
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group B
Inter Milan - Real Madrid
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - AC Milan
22
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Leicester City
22
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Arsenal
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Torino
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Parma
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.