California has seen a surge in gun ownership since the coronavirus pandemic began as concerns about the recent spike in violence intensified, a new study shows.
Since the pandemic began, California has seen roughly 47,000 new gun owners, while an estimated 110,000 people acquired a firearm, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis and other institutions.
Among reasons cited by respondents was an increased fear in being the victim of a robbery as a result of the pandemic. Others reported they were “very worried” about violence happening within their neighborhoods. Some respondents said they purchased a firearm out of fear of racially motivated attacks.
The most common reasons given for firearm acquisition because of the pandemic was a fear of lawlessness, which was cited by 75.9% of respondents. More than half of the respondents said they worried about prisoner releases and nearly 50% of respondents worried the government had gone too far, according to the study. (RELATED: California Judge Holds High-Capacity Magazine Ban To Be Unconstitutional)
Respondents who already owned a firearm said they purchased more ammunition during the pandemic because they also feared that there will be violence, the study showed.
Sturm, Ruger & Company tripled their earnings by July, with CEO Chris Killoy calling the demand “staggering.”
“Having been in this industry for 30 years, I saw the surge in 1994 before the assault weapons ban took place,” he said. “This is probably the strongest level of demand that I’ve seen.”
Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation surveyed firearm dealers and concluded nearly 5 million Americans purchased a firearm for the first time this year.