Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Covid-19 prompting a run on guns in US

Covid-19 prompting a run on guns in US

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A worker inspects an AR-15 gun at Davidson Defense in Orem, Utah on March 20. AFP

Covid-19 prompting a run on guns in US

Gun sales have exploded in the US in the last two weeks as the coronavirus outbreak worsens, with people stocking up on weapons and ammunition out of fear the pandemic might lead to social unrest.

“We have had about an 800 per cent increase in sales,” said David Stone, owner of Dong’s Guns, Ammo and Reloading in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “I’m still not out of any caliber but I’m getting close to running out.”

Stone said the overall majority of customers rushing to stock up on firearms and ammunition are first-time buyers grabbing anything available.

“It’s fear over coronavirus,” he said. “I don’t understand it myself and I think it’s unreasonable.”

Several other store owners across the US said they have also seen a surge in sales as people fear social order will unravel if the health and economic crisis caused by the virus escalates.

Tiffany Teasdale, owner of Lynnwood Gun, located in the state of Washington, one of the states hardest hit by the virus, said she has seen a massive uptick in sales with customers lining up an hour before the store opens.

“We used to have on what we would call busy days, 20 to 25 firearms being sold,” said Teasdale, who has hired a bouncer to keep everyone in check. “Today, we are seeing upwards of 150.”

She said shotguns were in shortage across the country, along with ammunition for them as well as ammunition for handguns.

“A lot of people are buying shotguns, handguns, AR-15 [semi-automatic rifles], everything,” said Teasdale, whose store is open seven days a week.

Like Stone, she said most of her customers are first-time buyers who undergo background checks and, if need be, are given a quick course on how to handle their purchase.

‘Everybody buying guns’

“We have men, women, young, middle-aged, older, everybody buying guns,” she said. “And all ethnic backgrounds – black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic.”

She said one customer who came into the store recently decided it was time to arm himself after he witnessed two women fighting over the last case of bottled water at a store.

“We have customers who are also scared because law enforcement is being told to not respond as much because they are so short-staffed,” she added. “So a lot of people are scared that someone is going to break into their home . . . to steal cash, their toilet paper, their bottled water, their food.”

Utah resident Nick Silverri told the local CBS station that he recently purchased a shotgun for protection, but was having a hard time finding ammo.

“A shotgun seemed like a prudent firearm for self-defense in case Covid-19 virus got people all riled up and crazy,” he said.

Jordan McCormick, marketing director of Delta Team Tactical, based in Utah, said his company, which mostly makes AR-15 kits, is working non-stop to meet demand.

“Last week is pretty much when things got crazy,” McCormick, whose products are sold online and in stores, said. “It’s like gasoline got poured on a fire.”

He said fears over gun shops being shut down across the country as more and more states impose lockdowns have driven sales, along with concerns by advocates who worry that the right to bear arms – as laid out in the second amendment of the US constitution – could be threatened.

“A lot of people want to protect themselves,” he said. “If people are out of work for a while and they start looting, they want to have the ability to protect themselves, their assets and their family.”


  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • Singapore Fintech start-up enters Sihanoukville

    Singapore-based fintech start-up Fincy on Wednesday announced the expansion of its cashless payment system to Sihanoukville to tap into the southwestern coastal city’s ever-widening business and investment landscape. The move is in line with the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC’s) recommendations to