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U.S. gun sales surge amidst coronavirus outbreak

Consumers are purchasing more firearms and ammunition in March

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Federal officials have already issued pleas to consumers about hoarding consumer products in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but grocery staples aren’t the only things that consumers are clamoring to get their hands on. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. gun sales have spiked sharply higher in March, possibly over concerns that product shortages will increase the need for protection. Sales at one online ammunition site -- Ammo.com -- increased by 68 percent from February 23 to March 4 when compared to the previous 11 days.

Gun sales appear to be higher in areas that are facing a higher number of cases. The Times reports that California, New York, and Washington are seeing large increases in sales, although less-affected areas are experiencing a bump as well. 

Possible unintended consequences

The increase in gun ownership may provide a feeling of safety to some consumers during this time of uncertainty, but it may have consequences if consumers aren’t careful about where they store their guns in their homes. Kris Brown, president of the Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a statement pointing out the potential dangers.

“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,” he said.

Recent research backs up Brown’s concerns. A recent study found that nearly half of all consumers who own a gun do not prioritize gun safety, with 40 percent choosing not to lock up their guns at home. 

Of course, buying a firearm isn’t the only way to give consumers peace of mind. Protecting your home with other preventative measures like a home alarm or home security system can also be an effective way to keep you and your family safe. ConsumerAffairs has compiled information on some of the top-rated options here.

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