virus gun store sales
An obviously suspicious transaction by a would-be mass shooter. CHARGE DECLINED (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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By Matt Manda

By the millions, law-abiding Americans are buying firearms. Many are doing so for the first time, mainly for self-protection. That’s kept local gun stores busy and kicked up the debate, by some, of just how essential firearm retailers are during a health crisis.

NSSF’s Larry Keane joined the Washington D.C.-area radio’s Kojo Nnamdi Show to explain why it’s vital local firearm retailers stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. The show guests, Guns and America Senior Editor A.C. Valdez, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Nnamdi, noted that gun sales have spiked recently because firearm-related stores were deemed “essential” and have remained open.

They should be. NSSF worked to ensure gun retailers across the country keep the lights on. They mean safety for local communities, and Keane noted keeping firearm retailers open is foundational to the free exercise of rights, stating, “to close gun shops denies a constitutional right to Americans who want to purchase a firearm for self-defense, as is their right, in these uncertain times…People are concerned about their safety and the safety of their family in these very unsettled and unprecedented times.”

Community Safety

But keeping firearm retailers open is critical for another reason. D.C. Council Chairman Mendelson warned criminal use of firearms may follow higher gun sales and are common in the nation’s capital, adding, “Gun violence is a problem…but they’re not from registered guns.” He nailed the point.

Prosecutors are announcing they won’t prosecute, and criminals are being released from jail, so it’s no wonder law-abiding Americans are concerned and heading to their gun retailer. Keane added, “I commend the chairman for pointing out that legally-owned firearms aren’t the problem.”

Local firearm retailers are also most often where police departments are supplied. It’s where they buy firearms, ammunition and tools needed to keep the peace and protect communities. Shooting ranges provide practice opportunities. Closing gun stores would make a bad situation worse, because as Keane noted, it would mean, “law enforcement can’t access the tools they need to keep us safe.”

Safe Ownership

Beyond constitutional rights and law enforcement, one gun-owning caller summed up gun ownership, “responsibility comes with it.” All agreed, and Keane touted NSSF efforts encouraging gun-owners to be educated, responsible and safe.

“The industry strongly encourages anyone who owns a firearm to know how to do so safely and responsibly; to store those firearms when not in use and separate from the ammunition so that unauthorized individuals like children can’t get them,” Keane said.

NSSF’s program ProjectChildSafe has distributed 38 million free firearm safety kits including a free cable-style gun lock to 15,000 law enforcement agencies. Those are shared with communities in all 50 states. NSSF also educates firearm retailers through Operation Secure Store to increase safety measures at stores to reduce the likelihood of theft and robbery. These efforts and more are paying off as gun ownership has reached all-time highs.

“Firearm ownership has been increasing…and all the while crime continues to decline, and accidents involving firearms are at the lowest levels since record keeping began in 1903,” Keane added.

Firearm-owning Americans have a constitutional right to do so. Effective law enforcement requires necessary tools. Firearm ownership demands responsibility and stewardship. It all happens at a local firearm retailer.


Matt Manda is Manager, Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation

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  1. That’s a crock of sh*t….Self protection is a mind set not at the counter of a gun store!

  2. Self protection with me began when I was old enough to understand that I actually could fight back.

    • Yup, and knowing there were many many ways to become proficient in making unsuspecting bullies cry.

  3. My county enacted a curfew. 2100-0600 hrs. Sheriff’s Department instituted A-B shifts. All deputies working 12 hrs. No days off. Normally four shifts working 12 hrs. One night shift on, the other off. Call a friend of mine once or twice a week just to keep my finger on pulse of things. Lt. over the night shifts. He says after 2100 hrs they have little to do. Property crime way down. Except for the odd domestic, violent crime nonexistent. Not saying citizens shouldn’t be armed, or new firearms owners shouldn’t buy firearms. I’m just as armed as I ever was. I just think, except for the medical/economic side, this thing is a non-starter. Of course it could still go really sideways so stay prepared. If there is an upside it’s the rest of America got a wake-up call.

    • I’ve got a couple of cop buddies where I live, and they report that things are very quiet. I guess the lowlifes are laying low.

      That could all change in a bad way, but for now things seem alright.

      • Art, yep. All the hurricanes I worked I saw some some civil unrest. To greater or lesser degrees. This thing nothing. Well, almost. Casey was at Publix last week. Crowded. He said an old guy in a BMW was backing out of a handicap space. Guy behind him in an SUV of grows impatient. Rams him. Backs up and rams him again, then begins to attempt to push him out of the way. Angry man then dismounts and begins to pound on old, now scared guy’s, windshield while screaming curses. Casey is making his way to the scene to intercede when angry man remounts and speeds away.

    • I think, as with all crime, it’s regional dependent.

      I suspect Chicago and Baltimore are in trouble. And as this goes on and warmer weather hits it’ll be other places as well.

      We’ll also see a curious crime statistics artifact. Regardless of the reality, crime will appear way down. But crime statistics are only generated when the police are called and make a report. Police in a lot of areas are not going out looking for crime. And so, they don’t find it. The real number to pay attention to will be homicides and maybe car theft reports. When you find a place that has a sudden drop in “crime” overall but the same or more homicides, you know that the statistics are worthless.

    • I don’t presume that I know what is or isn’t going to happen but I note that not many are hungry and homeless yet. I suspect that today’s average person isn’t as resourceful or long-suffering as those that suffered the Great Depression. They can also be incited much more quickly and thoroughly by social media and news sources that are echo chambers of what they want to hear.

    • I heard that commercial burglaries are significantly up in some of the larger cities, presumably because no one is around.

  4. I call BS! Never once has any GS salesperson even as much as asked if I even new how to use a firearm. Fill out the 4473, show ID, wait a smidge, get gat and ammo, pay and cya. They are concerned A) with making the sale, and B) making sure you don’t drop a live round in while handling said firearm and robbing or killing them.
    Maybe its a good opportunity to now add a bit of info on safety, training options etc., just as a value-added bonus?

    • Obvious you do not live in California. We have to have a “Firearms Safety Certificate” to even buy a gun (which requires reading a pamphlet, passing a 35 question multiple choice test with at least 80% correct answers, and a safe handling demonstration), and then have to perform a safe handling demonstration (clearing, loading, safeing, chambering a dummy round for rifles and semi-auto pistols, unloading and clearing the firearm) before you may take possession after a ten day wait.

      • No I live in a free state, but when I was a subject in MA I had to pay the king for a permission slip after paying for mandatory training.

  5. NSSF’s program ProjectChildSafe has distributed 38 million free firearm safety kits including a free cable-style gun lock – as useful as a CDC flu shot.

    Where do I get my “deposit” back for these idiotic POS/

    • This happened in spite of/because of people not holding their ground. Cow-tailing to hippy liberal lefties, and allowing them to make policy.

      Should you lock up your firearms? Probably. To make it a national law forcing people to get locks with every firearm, and some locales forcing people to under penalty of law, is a ridiculous notion. This started mainly from removing or not allowing education to happen. How many people nationally have never seen a firearm with their own eyes, let alone never touched one or picked one up? Millions.

  6. Looking at the photo, it appears that woman is buying a pistol, a long gun and a whole lot of ammo?
    That’s one huge hit on the credit card!

  7. Looking at the photo, I need to send wife to LGS after telling her we are running low on guns and ammo LOL. She would have no problem spending a lot and I would giver her a list of Glocks and HKs to get. As far as credit cards we have always paid the balance off in full and never paid a dime of interest to the credit card company.

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