Friday, April 10, 2020

Did 1 in 20 of American Households Buy a Gun in Response to COVID-19?

At the end of March, 2020, conducted a survey asking people if they had purchased a firearm in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The survey is reported to have found one in 20 households purchased a gun with that reason in mind. Another one in ten households were said to be considering purchasing a gun for that reason. From
One in 20 households say they've bought a gun in response to the coronavirus outbreak. That's according to an exclusive Newsy/Ipsos survey showing that many Americans have reacted to COVID-19 and the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic by buying or thinking about buying guns.

"I got a Glock. That seemed like a pretty reliable … very reputable weapon."

Justin Orel is a web developer and former Marine living with his wife and newborn in Kansas City, Missouri.

"I thought about purchasing a firearm for a while. Never really was sure about it. Also I'm not like, I don't know, a gun nut, or like, I don't know, also usually more on the side of like heavier gun controls probably not a terrible thing like better background checks and things like that. … We were just like, well, maybe now is the time just in case, like, something crazy happens or people start losing their minds … Maybe better to have one and not need it than need it and not have it."

There are reported to be about 129 Million households in the United States in 2020. Five percent of that (1 in 20) would be 6.5 million households.

The National Instant background Check System (NICS reported  close to 2,373,193 million guns sold in March of 2020. The numbers are not perfect. When multiple sales are done, they can be recorded as one check, but they would still go to the same household.  NICS records few private sales. The February 2020 NICS reported about 1,244,177 gun sales. The total of the two months is 3,617,370. It is unlikely people were purchasing guns out of concern for the coronavirus before February.

3.6 million is far short of the 6.5 million needed for five percent of the households in the United States to purchase a firearm.

Some of the sample in the survey may reveal wishful thinking. Without the actual question asked in the survey, we cannot know if people might have answered a hypothetical. An additional ten percent of the people surveyed reported they considered purchasing a firearm because of concerns with the current pandemic.

The firearm sales in March of 2020 were the all time record for any month recorded in the over 20 year history of the NICS system. The previous record was in December of 2015, when the total was 2,213,121. March 2020 broke that record by over seven percent.

A claim could be made that American households are seven percent more concerned with the Wuhan Flu than with the election of Hillary Clinton. That claim would be false.

Guns are very durable items. They seldom break. They take only a small amount of maintenance to last for hundreds of years.  Thus, the numbers manufactured and imported are additive over a period of decades.

Most of the people who feared the election of Hillary Clinton have already bought their guns. They are part of the over 440 million guns already in the private stock in the United States. Of course, they might purchase more of them. There were about 430 million privately owned firearms at the end of 2018. About 13.9 million were added in 2019.

The number of gun sales in 2020, through the end of March, about 4.7 million, adds approximately 1% to the number of guns already in private hands.

Did five percent of American households buy a gun in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? No. The numbers do not support it. At most, perhaps two percent did, and another 13 percent are thinking about it.

Second Amendment supporters are winning the culture war.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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