Academic studies show that a fifth of U.S. households bought guns during the pandemic, exposing 15 million Americans to guns at home for the first time.
Between 2020 and 2022, nearly 60 million guns were purchased, according to an analysis by The Trace, a not got profit nonpartisan news organization that monitors gun violence.
The figures also show an annual increase in gun sales, with them being about double what firearms sales were 15 or 20 years ago.
These new weapons could be the cause of a historic spike in gun deaths, which have hit record highs during the same period.
John Roman, a senior fellow at NORC, a University of Chicago research organization, noted this recent gun ownership is a “different type of gun ownership.”
Roman explained that recent gun ownership wasn’t like the historic ownership that included “a rifle stored somewhere that you take out twice a year” to hunt.
Instead, Roman noted that recently purchased guns were most likely semiautomatic handguns, probably a semiautomatic handgun, kept on a nightstand or in your glove box, “or that you may carry around with you.”
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a run on gun shops as part of a broader national panic-buying frenzy that hit the country at a time when many Americans thought society was collapsing.
Nick Suplina, law and policy senior vice president at gun-control nonprofit, Every Town for Gun Safety, explained fear was the driving force of pandemic gun sales, largely fueled by the National Rifle Association.
Suplina referenced a Twitter video the NRA released during the pandemic, where a woman, holding a rifle, says: “You might be stockpiling up on food right now to get through this current crisis, but if you aren’t preparing to defend your property when everything goes wrong, you’re… stockpiling for somebody else.”
Pandemic gun sales have pushed the percentage of Americans armed at home to 60 percent, up from 32 percent in 2010.