Gun sellers in the US have reported a huge rise in sales over recent weeks, as Americans stock up on weapons amid the global pandemic.
Gun sales in areas which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, such as Washington, California and New York, have reportedly soared, as weapon-owners fear a breakdown in public order.
People have been seen in long queues outside shops, in an effort to boost their personal arsenals, as coronavirus pandemic deepens in the US.
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There are also reports that people who have never owned a weapon before are joining the queues – to ready themselves for any breaches in public security.
Customers queuing in Los Angeles told local media that “politicians and anti-gun people have been telling us for the longest time that we don’t need guns”.
They added: “But right now, a lot of people are truly scared, and they can make that decision themselves.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, one gun seller in Oklahoma had recently seen people buying thousands of dollars worth of equipment at a time, in order to protect themselves, depleting its large stocks.
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The paper also said many people of Asian heritage were buying weapons, out of fear of a backlash against their community over the outbreak.
Online ammunition retailer ammo.com reported a surge in sales since the COVID-19 outbreak, reporting a 68% uptake in people buying from its website.
Donald Trump Jr, the US president’s son, claimed at the weekend that his “Democrat friends” had been in touch with him to ask what guns they should purchase, adding: “You don’t need it, till you need it.”
However, the increase of guns being bought in the US has not been welcomed by everyone, with gun safety activists worried about weapons lying around the house while children are off school.
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During Sunday evening’s US election debate, Everytown, a gun control group, tweeted: “The COVID-19 #NationalEmergency means millions of children and teens will be home over the next several weeks, some in homes with loaded, unsecured guns.
“Parents: #BeSMART for Kids: Store guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition.”
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump told Americans to “take it easy” and “relax” when it comes to panic buying, although it is not clear whether this included people buying more weapons.