Gun sales rising with first-timers during coronavirus pandemic

Updated: Oct. 25, 2020 at 9:48 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Gun sales have increased during the coronavirus outbreak.

Local retailers say they have not seen anything like it before and they believe certain factors are causing the spike.

It’s been an unprecedented year for the firearms industry.

Gun sellers have seen a surge in sales since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March.

“People started panic buying toilet paper, guns, ammo all the stuff that could be essential in a time of crisis. Also with the election coming up, nobody really knows how things are gonna turn out you know. New gun laws could change the age limit on guns.”

Cameron Smyly is with Downrange Guns and Tactical is set up at the original Jackson gun show.

He says this year’s spike is different because it’s being driven by a rise in first time buyers, especially among African-Americans and women.

“The way that the division has been coming up here lately.”

This is the first gun show for Jimmesha Myles.

She already owns a gun but looking to upgrade.

She believes more women are packing because of the increase in crime.

“You have a lot of gun violence among young people and you have a lot of break-ins. With those two colliding with each other, a lot of women are trying to protect their property and yet alone themselves. A lot of women are single out here. They don’t have a man to protect them so that weapon is going to be that.”

A report by the National Shooting Sports foundation says about 40 percent of gun sales in the first four months of the year were made by first-time buyers.

Much higher than the average of 24 percent over the past two decades.

Ammunition is also in short supply.

“Like big re-loaders, they’ve been having trouble getting casings, primers, bullets, powder.”

Industry experts warn a rise in gun sales could lead to violence as the pandemic may impact the mental health of communities.

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