Good news if you're in the firearms sales business.
When it first became clear to the wider public that the coronavirus would spread into a pandemic and the stock market crashed, some Americans responded in very typical fashion by buying lots of guns.
Americans bought so many guns in March, it set a new all-time record for the number of background checks performed by the FBI.
According to the federal agency, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System conducted 3.7 million screenings in March, the highest number recorded since its inception in 1998. The previous single-month record was 3.3 million in December 2015. The March figures exceed that number by 12 percent. [...]
Small Arms Analytics, a consulting firm that tracks the gun market, estimates that 2.6 million guns were sold last month based on the background check data, a 85 percent increase over the same period last year. According to its estimate, the surge was largely driven by handgun sales.
Americans always respond to major events by buying guns, but this seems especially idiotic to me.
You can't shoot a virus, of course, but there's also no humans around to shoot. Everyone is staying at home. Even mythical "bad guys" are hunkered down. There are no spaces to remain vigilant over; no restaurants or movie theaters or concerts where a "good guy with a gun" may be needed. Public gatherings of more than even two people are banned in the most densely populated areas of the country.
Maybe some people are just more financially well-off than the rest of us, but if you're spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on guns on the doorstep of mass unemployment and recession, well, I guess we have very different priorities. A box of wine will make me feel far better than a gun would.
I would not be the least bit surprised if our ongoing isolation and the concurrent surge in gun sales leads to a spike in domestic shootings, accidental discharges, and suicides.