PALM DESERT – Gun sales were so brisk on Thursday at C.V. Guns & Ammo in this community Derek Lynch had little time talk.
He said he was “inundated” with customers.
Consumers were purchasing primarily handguns and shotguns, Lynch said.
“People are panicking,” he said. “Everybody wants protection.”
At Tim’s Gun Shop in Thousand Palms, the din of consumers – both male and female – could be heard in the background.
“We’re busy, a man who declined to identify himself, said gruffly. “We’re busy. Busier than usual.”
He said the consumers were buying “all different kinds of guns.”
All requests for comment went directly to voicemail at Second Amendment Sports in Palm Desert.
Gun sales are surging in many U.S. states, especially in those hit hardest by the coronavirus — California, New York and Washington, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The surge in gun sales in Coachella Valley comes as Palm Springs ordered residents to shelter in place and ordered bars, wineries, nightclubs, and cannabis lounges to close. The City Council also ordered a halt to closed restaurants and cafes – regardless of seating capacity – except for takeout and delivery.
City Halls across the Valley have closed their doors to the public and are limiting citizen attendance at local government to 10 people.
As of today, March 19, 16 Riverside County residents have tested positive for coronavirus; 12 of them were from the Coachella Valley. Three of those residents have died, according to Riverside County Health officials.
The National Rifle Association and other Second Amendment proponents have been cheering the surge in guns sales. “You don’t need it, till you need it,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted recently.
Ammo.com, an online retailer of ammunition, has also seen a recent increase in sales. According to the company, from Feb. 23 to March 4, transactions increased 68% compared with the 11 days before Feb. 23, a day when Italy reported a major outbreak of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Some gun control groups, like Everytown for Gun Safety, American nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control and against gun violence have raised concerns about children out of school for the next several weeks, which could result in more children and teens being killed in homes with unsecured guns.
“The unintended consequence of these panic-induced purchases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could be a tragic increase of preventable gun deaths for the loved ones these individuals are trying to protect,” Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
- Trump Jr. Tweet: Twitter
- Everytown Tweet: Twitter
- Handguns: Pixaby