By now many Americans have received a third stimulus check, and while the money may have gone to pay rent, buy food, and other necessities, it has likely also contributed to the most recent surge in firearms sales.
Gun shops across the country have reported a jump in sales in the past week – coinciding with direct deposit payments made to U.S. taxpayers.
Many news outlets have reported a similar story of first-time buyers looking to spend their stimulus money.
In Sherman, Texas Tap Smith, co-owner of Blackbeard Armory and Range told KXII News 12 he’s seen an uptick in sales and said last Thursday was the busiest morning they’ve had in a while.
“There’s more first time gun buyers than I ever seen before, I mean, there’s been certain times when political events have caused you know people to think more about guns or a lot of new gun buyers come out but this time has just been on fire with I think in January several million more new gun buyers on the market and I think we just continue to see that,” Smith said.
At John Brown’s Armory in Beaver Country, Pennsylvania, it is a similar story. The shop has seen steady sales since the outbreak of the pandemic a year ago, followed by a spike after Election Day, but it has been the most recent round of stimulus money that has driven the most recent sales online sales manager Nicholas Parish told WPXI 11 News.
“Days before people get them, they are in here,” Parish explained. “They are shopping to see what we have, how many of them we have, if we have ammunition. And then when the stimulus actually comes, it’s nonstop for us.”
More Asian-American Buyers
It has been widely reported that many of the first-time buyers over the past year have been African-Americans and women, but Forbes.com reported that now more Asian-Americans are buying guns for protection as hate crimes have increased. Gun shops across the country have reported an increase in Asian-American customers.
“There are more Asians being introduced to firearms,” Jimmy Gong, the owner of Jimmy’s Sport Shop in Mineola, New York told Forbes. “Before, there was never gun culture in the Asian community. But after the pandemic and all the hate crime going on, there are more Asians buying guns to defend themselves.”
Across the country in Poway, California sales to first-time Asian-Americans have increased by twenty percent at Poway Weapons & Gear. General manager Danielle Jaymes said those customers are buying firearms for self-protection. In the nation’s heartland, at Towers Armory in Oregon, Ohio; general manager Tim Hensley said there nearly double the number of Asian-American customers buying guns on a daily basis.
March and April usually see a slight spike in firearms sales as many Americans see a tax refund, and that accounted for some of last year’s increase – notably as the pandemic shut down the country just weeks before “Tax Day.” This year, as many Americans are getting a refund and a stimulus check sales of guns have remained strong.
However, not everyone is pleased about the fact that the money is used to buy firearms.
Joseph V. Sakran, Chethan Sathya and Corey Ciorciari authored an editorial for Scientific American and called for President Joe Biden to push states and cities to use stimulus money for gun violence prevention. The editorial failed to address that most gun crime still involves illegal guns and it is unclear if much of the stimulus money is actually being used to make such unlawful purchases.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.