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Americans are panic buying guns while the Coronavirus rages across the world

Americans are panic buying guns while the Coronavirus rages across the world

Gun and ammunition dealers have seen a spike in first-time customers who fear that the pandemic could lead to a breakdown of public order.

As soon as people grasped the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, all kinds of stores across the world saw an influx of customers stocking up on essential items as though preparing for the apocalypse. While first laughed and then disapprovingly shook our heads at viral videos of women fighting over toilet paper, outraged against those who sought to turn the panic-buying spree into a business opportunity, and forwarded heartwarming stories of good samaritans going on shopping sprees for the elderly, apparently some people have actually been gearing up for a trip into Zombieland.

A disturbing number of Americans have been lining up outside gun shops. According to the New York Times, gun and ammunition dealers have seen a spike in first-time customers who fear that the pandemic could lead to a breakdown of public order. Larry Hyatt, the owner of a North Carolina gun store, revealed that sales have increased 30 to 40 percent since late February. "People have a little lack of confidence that if something big and bad happens, that 911 might not work. We saw it with Katrina," he said, referring to the 2005 hurricane. "People haven’t forgotten that a disaster happened, and the government didn’t come."



 

To be fair, the Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak hasn't exactly been a confidence booster. On the other hand, part of the reason for the sudden hike in firearm sales appears to be the upcoming presidential election. Chuck Lowder—who recently stocked up on ammunition—cited a testy confrontation between a construction worker in Detroit and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., sparked by the worker accusing the presidential hopeful of "actively trying to end our Second Amendment right." Explaining why it led him to a gun store, Lowder said: "When you’re told you can’t have something, the first thing you want to do is get it."



 

However, Lowder does believe that the fear of what could happen with the pandemic is more likely what's driving people to gun shops. The sudden flurry of tweets showing lines outside ammunition stores and empty shelves definitely seem to indicate so. Here are 21 such tweets we've found so far:

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