Gun Control
July 3, 2020
Has national turmoil blunted the momentum for new laws?

The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests following the killing by Minneapolis police of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, have shaken up the gun control debate. The twin crises sparked a surge in gun sales, with the FBI performing 6.6 million background checks on would-be gun buyers in March and April alone. Many of the guns were purchased by first-time buyers who feared the violence unleashed by some of the protests, or were concerned that the pandemic would wreak havoc on society. The boom in gun sales has prompted concerns that an increase in gun violence and suicides will follow. COVID-19 temporarily pushed gun control out of the headlines, but the Supreme Court brought it back in June when it declined to hear appeals of 10 cases restricting gun ownership.

Boogaloo Bois walk next to Black Lives Matter protesters A member of the far-right militia Boogaloo Bois walks next to Black Lives Matter protesters outside a police building on May 29 in Charlotte, N.C. Gun sales and fears of violence have increased in the wake of the nationwide protests. (AFP/Getty Images/Logan Cyrus)

Fears that society could unravel because of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with occasional violent unrest following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, have spurred a surge in gun sales.

One of the buyers was Angel Rambert of Atlanta, who purchased her first gun in June after looters ransacked an AT&T store across the street from her apartment. The 26-year-old said owning a gun gave her a greater sense of security.