Fear Drives Record Gun Sales


Virginia is setting records for gun sales this year; the FBI has processed 617,472 firearms background checks, already beating 2019’s total of 512,766.

Bob Marcus owns Bob’s Guns in Norfolk. He said the increase in sales began a year ago. “We saw it after the General Assembly turned over back in November. It started with the election, and then the General Assembly went into session. And there were threats of the so-called assault weapons ban, and other restrictions, so it continued through January, February, and into March.” Marcus added, “Just as soon as that was finished, Covid-19 kicked in and the stimulus money that went along with it. So we’ve just seen month after month of increasing sales.”

Marcus said he’s seen a lot of urban, first-time gun buyers. “They had disposable income to spend, they had concerns, and they had fear, and all three of those things seem to create the perfect storm.”

Wavy.com reports that the FBI processed 80,228 Virginia firearms background checks in March, a monthly record that was quickly broken in June, with 81,204 background checks.

“People are buying guns in record numbers because they’re scared of what’s happening across the country. They are scared of looters and rioters; they are worried that police may not be able to protect them,” Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said.

“People want the ability to defend themselves, because they intuitively realize that guns save lives. In an environment where the police are outnumbered, or hindered from doing their jobs, people will acquire firearms for their own self-defense. They are doing this at an unparalleled rate, despite efforts by Virginia Democrats to inhibit them from exercising their constitutionally-protected rights,” Pratt added.

Delegate Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) agrees that fear is driving the increase in sales. “I think it’s the scare tactics gun manufacturers have been using for decades now in order to try to increase gun sales,” Levine said. “It’s a very successful thing to do and it’s a very dangerous thing to do.”

Levine added, “Franklin Delano Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And I do fear fear. I fear this intentional causing of people to be angry, causing people to be racist, causing people to hate immigrants, causing people to fear the other and it leads to violence.”

Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave said, “Nobody is fear mongering, nobody has to. All you have to do is turn on your television. Unless I’m missing something, every time I’m watching the news, we had cities burning, including in Richmond. We had fires, arson, people getting killed.”

“The people we’re seeing riot, it’s really on the left, that are out busy burning cities and attacking people that have different views. It’s only mostly coming from one side,” Van Cleave said. “They’re the ones that are creating the fear. And the rest of America is saying, ‘Wow if I wear a MAGA hat, I could have somebody come up and put me in the hospital.’ That’s generating fear because there’s a reason to be afraid.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected]

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