Americans bought more firearms in 2020 than in any other year, according to a gun research firm, Small Arms Analytics. This year alone, Americans bought more than 17 million firearms. This is despite gun store closures in some states and travel restrictions that made purchases difficult.
Firearm purchases spiked in spring fueled by coronavirus fears and peaked further in summer during the violent Black Lives Matter protests.
Small Arms Analytics chief economist Jurgen Brauer said that by September, the firearms' purchase record had already exceeded that of the entire 2019 or any other full year within the past two decades since the company started collecting gun sales data.
Chuck Rossi, a co-founder of Open Source defense, said that the current gun sales record is the highest during his 30-year self-defense career.
Brauer said that handguns were the preferred weapon choice for most gun owners, although some still preferred long guns and rifles.
Research by the University of California, Davis found that civil unrest fears contributed to the rise in gun purchases.
"Two-thirds expressed worry about lawlessness, and close to half worried about prisoners being released. Half also cited worry about the 'government going too far,'" said Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, the report author.
The last spike in gun sales was in 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran against the incumbent president Donald Trump. In that year, Americans bought more than 16.6 million firearms in anticipation of Hillary's victory at the polls. Like other Democrats, Hillary ran on a gun control platform, stoking fears of further restrictions in gun ownership.
Currently, gun control activists say that the rise in firearm ownership poses a risk of unintended injuries. They also accuse gun rights activists of influencing firearm sales through fear.
However, study after study shows that Americans' decision to buy firearms is based on real concerns. For example, police response rates were highly affected during coronavirus lockdowns and the BLM riots. Consequently, many gun owners, including some liberals, changed their position on gun ownership.
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