Tag Archives: FIREARM SALES

First-Time Buyers Explain Why Coronavirus Drove Them to Gun Stores in Record Numbers

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More than 2 million guns sold in March. READ MORE

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Stephen Gutowski

Aaron Eaton learned how to shoot in the Army back in 2006 but holstered a pistol for the last time when he left in 2009 and took a job as a technician for a sewer company. That all changed on March 26 when the father of four walked out of an Alabama gun store with a Beretta 92FS, the same gun he handled as a military policeman at the height of the Iraq war.

“Simply put: I wanted peace of mind when it comes to the safety of my family,” Eaton said.

sales marchgun sales march 2020

Eaton’s pistol was one of 2.3 million firearms to fly off the shelves in March, the single busiest month for gun sales ever. The Washington Free Beacon spoke to half a dozen new gun owners who purchased a total of six handguns and two shotguns. All of the new gun owners provided proof of purchase, though some asked not to have their last names published because of potential career backlash.

“To me, it’s all about protecting my family, and if a gun makes that easier, so be it,” Scott, a California tech worker with a wife and daughter, said.

Many of the new gun owners cited concerns about personal protection as states began emptying jail cells and police departments announced they would no longer enforce certain laws. Jake Wilhelm, a Virginia-based environmental consultant and lacrosse coach, purchased a Sig Sauer P226 after seeing Italy enact a nationwide lockdown on March 9.

“[My fiancée and I] came to the conclusion in early March that if a nation like Italy was going into full lockdown, we in the U.S. were likely on the same path,” Wilhelm said. “Given that, and knowing that police resources would be stretched to the max, I decided to purchase a handgun.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, said new customers represented a large swath of new gun sales even as gun stores faced depleted stocks and shutdown orders from state and local governments across the country. “A large portion of the 2.3 million sales during the month of March were to first-time buyers is what we’re hearing back from our retailers,” Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the group, said.

Retailers told the Free Beacon they’d never experienced anything like the recent surge of new buyers.

Brandon Wexler of Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, Fla., said “at least 50 percent” of his sales in March were to first-time buyers. Michael Cargill of Central Texas Gun Works in Austin, Texas, said he was getting “100 calls an hour” at the peak and most were from new customers. Wayne Viden, vice president of Bob’s Little Gun Shop in Glassboro, N.J., said he also noticed an influx of new buyers.

“I think a lot of people were afraid of exactly what’s happening now,” Viden said. “They’re afraid if it continues to go on longer, things are going to get worse.”

Charrie Derosa, a saleswoman at Wex Gunworks, said shopworkers attempted to alleviate the unease caused by the lethal virus.

“‘We’re here for you.’ That’s the exact feeling that you have when you’re standing there and you’re looking at them,” she said. “And you can see it. You saw fear. You saw desperation.”

The fear extended past the disease to how communities would bear the strain of job loss, lockdown orders, and law enforcement policies adopted in the wake of the spread. One Tampa inmate who was released over coronavirus concerns has now been accused of murder, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Brian, a 40-year-old living near Tampa, lost his full-time bartending job in March but was concerned enough about deteriorating public safety that he dipped into his savings to purchase a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.

“My biggest fear is that our local police force comes down with the virus,” he said. “If the good guys are all out sick, who is going to stop the bad guys? When people have no hope, they get desperate. And we fear the worst is to come.”

Scott, the California tech worker, said he is preparing not just for thinned policing, but for a potential uptick in hate crimes against his family. While he is not Asian, his wife and daughter are. He said they have already faced racial harassment during the outbreak.

“Just walking on the street, folks have honked and yelled at us [for] wearing masks,” he said. “And robberies are common in Asian communities. I worry about them.”

Matthew Rosky, a North Carolinian who bought a Benelli 12-gauge shotgun for himself and a 20-gauge shotgun for his wife on April 4, said he doesn’t “plan on being relieved of my property or my life if it comes to that.” He said the couple lost their home to a landslide in 2019 and the threat of a national emergency pushed them to follow through on the purchase they had already been considering.

“I am not real enthused with politicians letting criminals out of jails, nor will I be surprised to see crime go up since many police departments are not responding to anything but the worst emergencies,” Rosky said. “Obviously, this is a pessimistic outlook but, ‘Hope for the best, prepare for the worst,’ seems like a good mantra at the moment.”

Andrew, a federal contractor living in Virginia who bought a Heckler & Koch VP9 for himself and one for his wife on March 21, said he had already experienced societal breakdown firsthand. He was a student at the University of Southern California during the Los Angeles riots and witnessed some of the destruction. He recalled “the acrid smell of smoke and the ceaseless police and fire sirens and LAPD choppers” as “the most poignant and searing memories” of his lifetime.

“The sad reality [is] that civil order can break down in less than 12 hours and the overwhelmed police can’t help you,” he said. “As I explained to my wife, I’ve seen things go sideways quickly — and with unpredictable results.”

Some of the new gun owners now find themselves caught in the political battles that have emerged in the wake of the coronavirus. Santa Clara County shut down gun stores before Scott could pick up his Smith & Wesson .357 revolver.

“To me, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” he said. “That’s why it’s frustrating to have that right taken away.”

Retailers said customers like Scott are the reason they have resisted shutdown orders. The stay-at-home order in Texas did not include an exemption for gun stores, but Cargill of Central Texas Gun Works kept his doors open even before state attorney general Ken Paxton said localities cannot shutter gun stores.

“I’m refusing to shut down because a lot of people lost their jobs,” Cargill said. “They don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from but they do know it’s up to them to protect their family. And they’re coming to me and they’re saying, ‘Hey, I have food for now and I have water and I have medicine but what I don’t have is a firearm to protect my house.'”

The adjustment to being a new gun owner has been easy for Eaton, the Alabama veteran.

“It’s the weapon the Army trained me with. I figured I should go back to something I’m familiar with,” he said.

He is an outlier among those the Free Beacon spoke to. A majority said they want to pursue further training–including those needed for carry-permits–once lockdowns are lifted and classes are available again. With closures in place, Scott has turned to online communities and video training. He said he had been impressed by what he’s seen from gun owners both in-person and online.

“It’s all about safety first and practice, practice, practice,” he said.

How Gun Stores Are Coping With COVID-19

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Owners face challenges as the nationwide lockdown persists. READ MORE

gun sales

by Susanne Edward

Since late February, gun manufacturers have been doing all they can to keep the supplies flowing as gun sales soar.

“It has been a large, quick increase. People are mostly looking for under $500 handguns, ammunition and basic AR-15s–the people’s gun,” said Joe Meaux, owner of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Aklys Defense.

However, the rise in gun sales was left in limbo in several parts of the country as several state and local governments declared that gun stores are not “essential” businesses.

Even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in late March, deemed gun stores fundamental and gave the green light for them to remain open along with grocery stores and pharmacies, some local and state governments, including those in Massachusetts, New York and New Mexico, ordered them closed and thereby ignited a litigious firestorm.

Some parts of California also used the government’s long arm to shutter gun stores, with a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissing a lawsuit put forward by shop owners and gun-rights groups seeking a temporary order allowing them to re-open.

Roman Kaplan, owner of City Arms East in Pleasant Hill, Calif., who has filed a lawsuit against the local government, said that sales had initially “sky-rocketed” until they suddenly received a call last month from their local police department mandating they close down.

“We are unable to serve our customers as we are closed,” Kaplan said. “Yet criminals are being let out of jails and police departments are taking officers off the streets.”

Meanwhile, police departments and first responders are hardly immune to the coronavirus. They have been impacted by sickness and deaths in their ranks, and for weeks some departments have been warning communities they cannot respond to calls and crimes as they normally would.

“Folks started to realize the need for self-protection/preservation as news of the pandemic was nationalized,” said Gordon Gray, owner-partner of Sparks Black Rifle, in Sparks, Nev., which has been allowed to remain open. “People at first started buying shotguns and pistols. Then they moved to rifles, and then whatever was available.”

As the demand increased and the inventory decreased, Gray says the shipping times also increased. In some cases, they are three weeks behind.

Many gun-store owners also say they’ve seen a massive increase in first-time buyers.

“Many are opening their eyes as to how a firearm is acquired. Most thought they could simply purchase one from the internet or a gun show,” Gray said. “Some became angry at their politicians for not being truthful about how a firearm is purchased.”

Aside from some unconstitutional state and local restrictions, the pandemic’s large-scale lockdown has hurt the industry in other ways, too.

Gary Eliseo, the founder of the Arizona-based accessories retailer Competition Machine Inc., said that while his state has allowed them to continue working, the business has been drained primarily because of the loss of competitive shooting events.

“We need customers with disposable income to stay in this business; the longer we stay shut down, the more difficult the employment situation will be,” said Eliseo. “But it is clear to most of us who value our constitutional rights that the Second Amendment is more important now than ever. Citizens need the ability to protect themselves.”

Photo courtesy of NSSF

Massachusetts: Gov. Baker Closes Gun Stores!

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Our Second Amendment rights are threatened. Gov. Charlie Baker needs to hear from you now!

covid gun control

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Charlie Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 13 on March 23rd, which required the closure of all businesses except those deemed “Essential.” The order did not designate gun shops as “Essential” businesses.

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker reversed that decision and issued COVID-19 Order No. 21, designating gun shops as “Essential” businesses. This reversal was forced by a decision over the weekend from the Trump Administration — through the Department of Homeland Security — that firearm and ammunition dealers, shooting ranges, and manufacturers are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure and should not be shut down.

However, late Wednesday afternoon, after gun rights advocates praised the decision, the Baker Administration removed firearm retailers and shooting ranges, once again, from the list of essential businesses. This craven move comes after Gov. Baker excluded gun shops from emergency small business loans, after designating them “non-essential” businesses.    

Please act now and call on Governor Baker to designate firearm dealers essential businesses. It is extremely unfortunate that in these uncertain times, an elected official would limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their inherent right to self-defense. Firearm dealers are essential to exercising this right!

Please call Governor Charlie Baker’s office at 617-725-4005 and request that firearm dealers are designated an essential business!

FOLKS: This has come up in California, New Mexico, South Carolina, Maine, and on and on down a long list. There’s a clear pattern of attempting to use emergency powers directed in sweeps to wherever agendas are met. Keep reading: MORE NEXT WEEK!

COVID-19 Draws Attacks on Second Amendment

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Nationwide closing of gun stores threatens rights of both long-standing and first-time gun owners and buyers. READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

During the COVID-19 crisis, many of our family members, friends, and fellow citizens have decided to exercise their right to self-defense for the first time. Unfortunately, many of them are being delayed or denied their rights not only by anti-gun bureaucracy put in place years ago, but also new obstacles created within the past few days and weeks. Anti-gun officials have taken advantage of declared states of emergency to restrict our rights by closing gun stores, delaying concealed carry permits, and shutting down background checks for new firearm purchases.

These are the very actions that the Second Amendment was meant to guard against. These are the abuses your NRA fights at all levels of government.

Your NRA has launched a new website to put all information related to the COVID-19 pandemic in one convenient location. By visiting HERE, you will be able to see the latest developments in your state and may take action to protect your Second Amendment rights.

WATCH VIDEO

Some of these recent actions:

California
San Jose officials insisted that firearms are “nonessential” and ordered gun stores to close. Mayor Sam Liccardo said, “We are having panic buying right now for food. The one thing we cannot have is panic buying of guns.” The city has shut down gun stores.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Villanueva said, “Buying guns is a bad idea” and demonstrated his disdain for law-abiding citizens being armed for self-defense by starting to shut down gun stores. He suspended that endeavor after receiving an opinion from Los Angeles County counsel that gun stores could in fact be classified as essential businesses, but just the next day, put the shut-down order back in place. One Los Angeles official even stated, “There’s nothing essential about being able to purchase a new handgun.”

On March 27th, the NRA joined individuals, retailers, and other gun rights groups in filing a federal lawsuit challenging state and local policies and enforcement practices that violate Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Delaware
Governor John Carney’s executive order on March 22nd did not list gun stores as essential and State Police began to issue cease and desist letters to force them to close. Following an uproar from NRA members and concerned citizens, Gov. Carney revised his order to allow gun stores to remain open by appointment only.

Maine
Governor Janet Mills issued an executive order for “nonessential” businesses to close starting March 25th. While it was initially unclear if that category includes gun stores, she has since made her intentions clear by having state authorities order them to close. NRA members and law-abiding gun owners throughout the state are urging her to correct this egregious error.

New Jersey
Governor Phil Murphy ordered the State Police to shut down the online background check system, ensuring that licensed firearm dealers cannot transfer firearms to citizens. NRA is currently pursuing all legal options to halt Gov. Murphy’s unconstitutional actions and secure the Second Amendment rights of Garden State residents.

New Mexico
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is making her anti-gun proclivities clear and wasting law enforcement resources by tasking the State Patrol with driving by gun stores and telling dealers that they must remain closed to the general public. NRA members and law-abiding gun owners are responding to the Governor’s anti-gun order by urging her to consider the safety and security of her constituents and allow gun stores to re-open for business.

North Carolina
Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker’s office announced that they will not issue new pistol purchase permits for more than a month. This leaves new prospective gun owners especially vulnerable. For the next month, law-abiding residents cannot buy a handgun or receive one in a private transfer, even from a family member or close friend, unless they were issued a permit prior to the shutdown.

Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Wolf considers gun stores, and by extension the Second Amendment, “non-life-sustaining” and forced them to close on March 23rd. Following a dissenting opinion from Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice David Wecht and two other Justices, Governor Tom Wolf quietly removed gun shops from that list, allowing them to re-open on March 25th. Their opinion made it clear that Governor Wolf’s shuttering of gun shops amounted to “an absolute and indefinite prohibition upon the acquisition of firearms by the citizens of this commonwealth — a result in clear tension with the Second Amendment.” NRA members and law-abiding gun owners throughout the state made their voices heard loud and clear on the initial closure and we thank them for their steadfast support.

Texas
Over this past week, local officials in a number of cities and counties adopted emergency orders that contained provisions forcing firearm retailers to close. On March 27th, following a timely request from pro-Second Amendment state Representative Dustin Burrows, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion stating that Texas’ preemption law prohibits these emergency stay-at-home orders from shutting down gun stores. NRA thanks Rep. Burrows and AG Paxton for their rapid response to protect the Second Amendment in the Lone Star State.

Fortunately, many of our members live in pro-gun communities and states where officials support your right to defend yourself and your loved ones. Even in these pro-gun jurisdictions, eternal vigilance is necessary to protect our freedoms against the threats posed by the ongoing emergency. With this in mind, please visit: HERE  to stay up-to-date on all COVID-19 news and, by all means, stay safe. Working together, we can protect the Second Amendment and come out of this crisis stronger, wiser, and with our rights secured.

READ THIS ALSO!

2017: Another Year Millions of Americans Bought Firearms

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Good news: Looks like we all worried too much. Here’s the truth about guns sales last year… MORE

2017 gun sales

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

We, like many of our NRA members, watched the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) numbers all year. We read — and fact-checked — all of the claims about the “Trump Slump” and the imminent collapse of the entire firearms industry. Month after month, the narrative around the NICS data framed gun sales as waning because a new record wasn’t set. Bloomberg headlined its latest entry, “Gun Sales in America Drop.” The Chicago Tribune reported that “Holiday gun sales dip after record Black Friday.”

The FBI released the final NICS numbers for 2017. There were 25,235,215 total NICS checks in 2017 — making last year the second busiest year ever for the NICS office. Across all states, territories, and the District of Columbia, there were 7.2 million NICS checks related to handguns (not including private sales, rentals, returned, pre-pawn, or pawn redemption checks); 5.2 million for long guns; just under 400,000 for “other” firearms; and 236,167 checks for multiple purchases. More than 9.9 million Americans initiated a NICS check for a permit last year.

In terms of individual categories of NICS checks, 2017 ranks third for handgun-related NICS checks and second for “other” checks. In terms of total sales-related checks (handgun, long gun, other, and multiple), 2017 was the fourth-busiest year ever. It was also the second busiest year for permit checks.

Interest in defense and the shooting sports clearly remains strong; sure, NICS doesn’t provide a 1:1 proxy for gun sales but the FBI saw more than 13 million sales-related checks and almost 10 million permit checks. That equates to more than 27,000 permit checks and nearly 36,000 sales-related checks every single day of the year.

Hopefully, we can put the claims of “Trump Slump,” and of the demise of the firearms industry to rest along with the year 2017. The continued strong NICS numbers all year indicate that Americans’ interest in defending themselves and their families, and their interest in the shooting sports, is not dependent on the White House occupant. We fully expect the firearms industry to continue to support the passions shared by millions of law-abiding Americans throughout 2018.