The very popular AR-15 style rifles sell like hotcakes these days across the U.S as Americans arm themselves to face the COVID-19 pandemic: 16 states have reported complete shortages and 26 others report “critically low” stocks.
According to official numbers, over 5.5 million AR-15 style rifles, 32 million other firearms, and 1.2 billion ammunition have been sold over the last three weeks across the United States.
These astonishing numbers come as several gun stores now offer their own take-out, drive-by or even delivery services to reduce health risks posed by the coronavirus to their employees and customers.
According to Bill Matthews, owner of three gun stores in Norfolk, Virginia, people rushed to buy guns to protect themselves and their property as unemployment has skyrocketed recently across the country.
“Some people go to extremes because they’re afraid. I had an 81-year old man buy 16 firearms and over 600,000 bullets to protect himself and his wife.”
Enrique Morales, owner of the Gun ‘r Us store in Miami reports that people of all ages fear the actual situation will lead to pillaging and looting as millions find themselves without income.
“I’ve had parents buy guns for their 5 or 6-year-old children in order to help protect their houses when things get bad. I even sold out all my landmines and hand grenades, so I guess many people expect the worse.”
Several states have already announced they would review their list of essential services to include firearm manufacturers, but only Virginia, Florida and Georgia have done it already.
Experts expect the country could face several temporary shortages before the production can compensate for the increased demand.
Several types of high-caliber ammunition, as well as some models of shotguns and assault rifles could suffer shortages over the next few weeks.