INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — People are flocking to shops to buy guns during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the FBI and newly released data.
They reported a 41% surge in background checks in the United States last month, and in Indiana, gun shops are deemed an essential business.
“We saw the NICS system the National Instant Criminal Background System run by the FBI out of West Virginia; it actually was overwhelmed at several points over the last couple weeks,” 2A Project Founder Guy Relford said.
According to data from the FBI, 3.7 million people submitted their information for a background check to own a gun last month in the U.S.
This time last year, only 2.6 million initiated background checks.
“We have seen this before anytime folks are concerned about their security or the safety of their family,” Relford said.
Second Amendment advocate and Attorney Guy Relford said history shows people flock to gun shops during a national crisis.
“When people see announcements like in some parts of the country they are releasing some people from prison or jail to get them out of a enclosed environment. It’s understandable, but unsettling,” Relford said.
Due to the increase in sales, he says a lot of Indiana gun shops have closed because they have no inventory or because their staff is tired from working long hours.
He says Hoosiers may have an issue getting the proper license to carry a firearm right now.
“One of the processes to get your handgun license is you have to go by and get finger printed and pay a fee at local law enforcement agencies. A lot of those folks aren’t doing the finger printing because of health concerns or they’re not allowing folks to come in,” Relford said.
He said there are also a lot of first-time gun owners.
“I always encourage folks at whatever experience level and certainly new ones to seek training and education,” Relford said.
Former FBI Agent Doug Kouns just hopes if people purchase a firearm they use it safely.
“It’s kind of in our DNA to feel like we need to protect ourselves. I think some people feel a little hopeless right now and this alleviates that sense of hopelessness,” Kouns said.
Relford said part of his groups mission – 2A Project – is to make sure Hoosiers have access to obtain a gun permit during this health crisis.
He adds, there are many books and websites to educate yourself on proper gun ownership. His best advice is to always keep it locked in a safe and out of the hands of someone who is inexperienced.