(USA Features) As fears rise around the country that coronavirus could lead to anarchy and chaos, Americans are purchasing a record number of guns for self-defense.
Sales of firearms and ammunition lept in March as COVID-19 spread around the country, and more than two-thirds of the population were ordered to stay at home by state and local officials to slow the virus’ spread.
That said, there has been no civil unrest in the United States, though rioting and looting are more likely the longer travel restrictions and shortages of some goods and commodities continue, according to crime, behavioral and economic experts.
“It could end up being something where there is public discord riots and such. What happens if the food supply or water supply is interrupted for long periods of time?” said Virginia Citizen’s Defense League President Philip Van Cleave, the Washington Examiner reported.
“If they’re there in line and they manage to secure some food and some people could be desperate to get it away from them … you’d use the guns in self-defense,” he said. “It’s all about being able to protect yourself.”
Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., a gun rights advocate who founded the Crime Prevention Research Center, added that a growing number of Americans are concerned police may not be able to handle a possible uptick in crime, especially if more officers are either restricted in the kinds of calls they can respond to or are out sick with the virus.
“You have police all across the country which are being restricted in terms of their ability to go and respond to calls,” said Lott, according to the news site. “Then, on the other hand, you have a lot of jails and prisons across the country which are releasing prisoners.”
“People are concerned about their safety, and it’s no different than, you know, wanting to have a fire extinguisher because of the possibility you might have a fire,” Lott said.
Many Americans purchasing guns are first-time firearms buyers and they say they are worried about defending themselves.
“During times of insecurity, people realize the government cannot be there for them,” said Van Cleave. “People who are waking up — I welcome them.”