More Americans will die from all of the coronaguns than from actual coronaplague?

“Gun sales are off the charts” (Fortune):

U.S. consumers are rushing to buy guns as the Covid-19 pandemic and protests over police brutality combine with U.S. presidential politics to fuel unprecedented demand.

Firearm background checks compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a proxy for gun purchases, jumped to a record in June as street demonstrations spread around the U.S. That extended a surge that began in March as the coronavirus prompted lockdowns across the country.

James Hillin, owner of Full Armor Firearms in Texas, said the store’s gun sales have increased 75% since January, and that 95% of those were by new gun owners.“They’re scared,” Hillin said before cutting a brief interview short to attend to waiting customers. “They want to protect themselves.”

I wonder if, in the long run, more American life-years will be lost as a result of this increase in gun ownership sparked by coronapanic lockdowns and the subsequent riots by those who’d been locked down. (This is not to say that I am against Americans exercising their Second Amendment freedoms, which might be one of the few Constitutional rights that is left!) Keep in mind that the typical person who dies from a gunshot would is much younger than the typical person (80+) who dies from/with Covid-19.

From Back Bay (Boston) the other day…

(What does it mean to “attend” high school in a country where no teachers are willing to work?)

Older posts on the side-effect deaths from coronapanic:

15 thoughts on “More Americans will die from all of the coronaguns than from actual coronaplague?

  1. They’re good questions and the answer is: Nobody knows. Some background and analytics (including a helpful chart of NICS background checks going back to 200) are here.

    Small Arms Analytics, a consulting firm that tracks the gun market, estimates that 2.6 million guns were sold last month based on the background check data, a 85 percent increase over the same period last year. According to its estimate, the surge was largely driven by handgun sales.

    Here are the FBI’s latest figures including May and June:

    I suspect, based on my own background and from talking with friends I know, that many of these sales are to people who were already have them and wanted some extras, or people who had been considering it for years and finally decided to “pull the trigger” so to speak.

    I think the most important things, as always, are education and safety in storage in handling. If people take a little time to do some reading, take a course and visit a range to practice, and store their firearms safely when not in use, I don’t think it’s going to be a very big problem. My local range / gun club has been open since Phase 2 began and we’ve got about a dozen new members, and have seen some increase in use of the pistol range for practice. I think the vast majority of gun owners are very concerned with safety, and that includes their own safety and that of their families and neighbors.

    It stands to reason that there will be an increase in accidents, but by the same token, the resources available for new gun owners to educate themselves are better than they have ever been.

    • Addendum:

      I don’t think we’ll see a spike in accidents and deaths like the ones we saw with traffic fatalities as a result of the shutdown. Why? They’re very different behaviors. Completely different mindset. In my experience, actually owning a gun doesn’t make you more reckless, it makes you less reckless and more cautious. You think a lot more carefully about what you’re doing whenever you have control of the weapon. The media likes to sieze on individual examples and paint with a very broad brush, but I think people will be fine.

      Everyone needs to remember the rules and understand the laws surrounding the use of lethal force, and if they intend to carry off their property, remember: concealed means concealed. Everyone who buys a gun should spend a few extra bucks and join a range or a gun club and take advantage of the knowledge from shooters who have experience. Most gun club dues are cheap, and it’s money well spent. You’ll meet some great people and have a good time, too.

    • With millions of gun owners, isn’t “education and safety in storage in handling” guaranteed to fail for at least hundreds of thousands? We’re talking humans here, not machines. Look at how Americans wear masks!

    • @philg: I really don’t think so. Owning a gun and using one is a very different experience than wearing a mask. Obviously you’re increasing the pool of newbies, and some of those people are going to screw up, but I don’t think it will be hundreds of thousands, or even in the single thousands. I’m not watching everybody all the time, I can’t be in their living room or at the store when they make their purchases :). But I really do believe that people will take the responsibility seriously, a lot more like the assiduous mask devotees than the casual or discomfited or annoyed maskers. It’s my hunch, based on my experiences. It’s a much more serious activity than wearing a mask, and I think people recognize that and will step up to it. And you have to trust people to do that and give them the tools to do it. I’m not saying we won’t see some unfortunate incidents, but I don’t think it’ll be a big wave.

    • Alex: Is it possible that we could extrapolate from data on previous deaths from gunshots when the U.S. had a smaller percentage of gun owners? Anecdotally, at least, some of the earlier generations of American gun owners managed to shoot a variety of people (including themselves) by mistake.

    • @Philg: Yes, it would be useful for comparative purposes to do the projections and then look at the crime and accident data a year from now and see what kind of relationship exists, whether it’s a linear relationship or we see some new behaviors that emerge. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of debate about it. As of August, 2019, Gallup reported that 43% of Americans lived in a “gun household” and 30% reported personally owning a gun. Roughly 100 million personal owners.

      From Pew in 2017,

      “Three-in-ten American adults say they currently own a gun, and another 11% say they don’t personally own a gun but live with someone who does. Among those who don’t currently own a gun, about half say they could see themselves owning one in the future.”

      I think in the recent uptick you’re seeing the results of a lot of the people in the last sentence deciding to make the purchase, after having thought about it for a while. The pool of “potential new gun owners/fence sitters” was about half of 57% or about another 26-27% of the population who indicated they were open to it. Potentially that could mean another ~90 million new gun owners.

      I guess we’re going to find out!

    • Sorry my percents are a little off there. The potential new, first-time gun owners could be as high as 29% of the population. I don’t think we’ll see anywhere near that many, but maybe another 10% or 15% is realistic. It really depends on how bad things get, and what the response of the authorities is. It’s a very fluid situation. And we’re going to see millions of guns transfer ownership and not necessarily show up as new retail sales.

      One of the things I’ve worried about during the shutdowns has been the effect on people who want to buy a gun and get licensed, but they haven’t been able to do it. I’d obviously prefer to see people do it legally, particularly in Massachusetts. The legal ramifications of doing it the wrong way are severe.

      And I know that the gun manufacturers are working hard to meet the demand. Ruger is hiring all across the US, and so is Smith & Wesson.

  2. The accidental deaths won’t go up much if any, nor will homicides increase. The only numbers the new guns laying around might budge will be suicides.

  3. There are lots of things that will result in lots more deaths than corona virus — obesity, cigarette smoking, opiates, diabetes, hypertension, traffic fatalities, etc. But those things for whatever reason we accept & instead focus on corona virus. Corona virus has for some strange reason become a political issue while the rest of this stuff, like who cares if fellow citizens in Ohio or Kentucky or Missouri, young with lots of work years ahead of them, not the elderly in care facilities, are dropping dead from opiates?

    • The manufactured coronavirus and BLM are both covers for massive theft by bankers, to the tune of trillions. That leftists think it harms Trump is justcan icing on the cake to them.

  4. Guns in hands of ordinary people will prevent communist takeover of US. These guns will prevent dozens millions deaths the communists in power are infamous for. America just got a city-burning preview, and a lot of people took notice.

  5. The simple, one sentence narratives framing the Parkland shooting have always been awful and completely misleading. People should read the facts, which are breathtaking. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the school system itself, and most importantly the FBI completely dropped the ball with Nikolas Cruz, many, many times. It’s hard to imagine how they could have had more warning about his state of mind, means and motive over a span of several years, they did virtually nothing, and then tried to cover up that fact. And the FBI knew that he was an incipient threat, but for some reason they didn’t follow their “established protocols.” These are the people we’re supposed to trust to keep us safe from terrorists.

    “On November 30, 2018, the Sun-Sentinel reported that Broward County Public Schools, which runs Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had spent about $185,000 attempting to obscure its role in not preventing the massacre. The district also spent an undisclosed sum on legal opposition to release of records related to the school’s treatment of Nikolas Cruz while he was a student, and the school security procedures.”

    But really, read it all, especially “Warnings to Law Enforcement” and “Officer Inactivity.” Cruz was going to kill people, everyone important knew it, and none of them did a thing about it. And the best part? By the time any law enforcement officers actually entered the building, Cruz was long gone, but they thought he was still there because the surveillance camera system was on a 20 minute delay!

    If Cruz had been a little more ambitious, he could probably have kept the gun (which jammed) and taken another Uber to Massachusetts before anyone knew where he was. His big mistake was walking to a Walmart, having a soda at the Subway, then to McDonald’s, and finally walking around for 40 full minutes before a cop finally picked him up.

    The whole thing from beginning to end was a gigantic Cover Your Ass mechanism for all the authorities.

  6. “FBI completely dropped the ball ”

    One could say the same thing about 9-11.

Comments are closed.