REPORT: Americans are buying guns in record numbers, many are first time buyers

Amid a global pandemic and unrest, according to a new report from Fox Business, a record number of Americans are buying guns, many who are first time owners.

Dealers estimated 40% of sales in the quarter were first time owners, which is over the average.

This comes while politicians on the left are feverishly pushing gun-control measures.

Earlier this month new Virginia gun control measures took effect, these include background checks on all gun sales in the state, a civil penalty for failing to report a lost or stolen gun within 48 hours and a limit on handgun purchases to one per month.

Some gun store owners believe the last measure may hurt gun sales.

Fox Business reports Americans are buying guns in record numbers.

The new coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing movement to defund police are bringing in new buyers worried about their personal safety, according to buyers, store owners and gun experts.

Gun sales began rising to unusual highs in March, as coronavirus cases began surging in the U.S. and government-ordered lockdowns led to the highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression. The Federal Bureau of Investigation processed 7.8 million background checks for gun purchases from March to June, according to National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade group.

In June, background checks for firearms were up 136%, compared to a year earlier, according to the trade group, which gives the best proxy for gun sales. Background checks in June for civilians seeking a license to carry were the highest since the FBI began conducting checks 20 years ago.

Background checks for guns in Georgia tripled last month versus last year, according to NSSF data, and have more than doubled in Oklahoma, New York, Illinois and Minnesota.

Last month in Minneapolis, the city where Mr. Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white policeman, the line for gun permits was three hours long on Juneteenth, with a racially diverse group standing in line to obtain a permit.

Craig Geske, 57 years old, said he was applying for a permit because he is afraid the police in his area aren’t able to protect him. “I don’t want to ever shoot anybody ever,” he said. “But if I had to duck and shoot back in self-defense, at least I’d have a chance.”

Dealers estimate that 40% of sales are going to first-time buyers, an increase over the normal average of about a quarter, according to an NSSF survey.

During most big sales increases, buyers tend to be gun aficionados or Second Amendment supporters. But this time, sales of handguns, which are used for personal safety, are the strongest.

Nearly two handguns, commonly used for self-protection, are being sold for every rifle or shotgun, according to federal data. In the past, the biggest surges in gun sales were fueled by rushes on AR-15 style rifles that Second Amendment activists feared might be banned by the government, such as after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

“With the pandemic, it’s driven more by fear for personal safety; it’s people who haven’t been interested in the past,” said Jacquelyn Clark, co-owner of Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center in Lakewood, Colo.

That worries political leaders who are struggling to quell a recent surge in violence in cities around the U.S. Murders in Milwaukee, Chicago, Kansas City, Mo., and New York are on pace to see their highest levels in years, or even decades.