By James Murphy - jcmurphyABR@mail.com
As many are taking to the streets in America to express their First Amendment rights, a fair number of citizens are quietly engaging in their Second Amendment rights as well. Gun stores nationwide are reporting a sharp upsurge in sales amid first the COVID-19 scare and now the civil unrest occurring due to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
According to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting, a private research firm that reports on the business and economics of gun sales, the number of background checks done by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS) rose 80 percent over the same time last year. While those numbers do not represent a one-to-one correlation between background checks and weapon sales, they do suggest a huge uptick in interest in acquiring a firearm.
Gun shops confirm this, with many reporting that they cannot keep the shelves stocked. The buyers are also more diverse, with more females and minorities coming in to purchase weapons.
"We started out this week with a fair amount of merchandise. We're running out. Literally running out," Andy Chernoff, the owner of Coliseum Gun Traders in Nassau County New York told Fox 5 New York. "Never thought I'd say that."
In Texas they're seeing the same phenomenon. Arlen Swartzentruber, owner of the B.E.A.R. Gun shop in Corsicana, Texas, believes that the uncertain times we're going through in America is responsible for the uptick in sales. "When the question marks come about the future, gun sales go up," Swartzentruber said.
Swartzentruber also reports that buyers are not the same ones he usually sees. Females in particular are craving the protection that a handgun can offer. Normally females account for approximately 10 percent of his business. Now they account for close to 40 percent.
One of those females is 26-year-old Angel Rambert of Buckhead, Georgia, who purchased her first gun after weekend riots in Atlanta included the smashing of storefronts and widespread looting, including an AT&T store across from her apartment.
"During the times we're living in, you just never know what might happen," Rambert said.
Swartzentruber first noted the spike in sales in March when the COVID-19 scare began. "Back then people were fighting over toilet paper and people didn't know how long the shortages would last or if they'd be able to feed their families and protect their house," Swartzentruber said.
While the uptick in gun sales was initially due to COVID-19, the recent rioting surrounding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has caused sales to spike again. Ray's Hardware and Sporting Goods in Dallas reported that there were up to 40 people standing in line to buy a firearm after the first night of riots in the city.
"Many in the community state they do not feel their elected officials have a priority to protect them during these events," said Jim Pisoni of the DFW Gun Range and Training Center in Dallas. "Likewise, many no longer feel safe in their homes, businesses and in public."
"This seems to make far more sense than buying up toilet paper," Pisoni concluded.
Beyond simply arming themselves, some are taking even more extreme measures to protect themselves and their families. Perhaps fearing that the worst is yet to come, some are even purchasing safety bunkers, which might allow them to stay safe and secure while the world comes apart around them.
"The phone has been ringing off the hook," said Ron Hubbard, the owner of Atlas Survival Shelters, which is located in Sulphur Springs, Texas, near Dallas.
The average price for one of Hubbard's bunkers is approximately $75,000, but for those wishing to face the apocalypse on the cheap, he also sells bunkers for as low as $20,000.
"Why should only millionaires survive?" Hubbard says.
To say that these are strange times in America is the height of understatement. When we remember that 2020 is an election year and that the entire mainstream media and the Democratic Party is looking to place blame for literally everything on President Donald Trump, the near future becomes a potentially frightening scenario indeed. If Trump doesn't win in November and Democrats take both houses of Congress, we face the prospect of a complete dismantling of our Constitution by leftist forces. If he does win, we could face riots that make the George Floyd protests look like a Fourth of July picnic.