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Archive for September 9th, 2020

Steven Gutowski and colleague Charles Fain Lehman have this story at the Washington Free Beacon about those massive gun sales over this summer.

While March saw the most guns sold thus far in 2020, seasonally adjusted data show that it was June—the month after the death of George Floyd and subsequent onset of protests and civil unrest—that most exceeded expectations, massively outpacing usually languid summertime sales.

That suggests images of stores being looted and buildings being burned across many of America’s largest cities drove citizens to purchase guns at even higher rates, relative to usual seasonal patterns, than the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. David Kopel, a Cato Institute scholar with decades of experience in gun research, told the Washington Free Beacon the sales spike is clearly a response to the violence.

“Crime in general is a driver of gun sales,” he said. “And that includes not just individual criminals, but it also includes criminals who operate in large groups like rioters and looters. We had nationwide riots, mass violence, and police often ordered not to interfere or even overwhelmed. People understood more than ever that they have to be their own first responders.”

As Gutowski noted on his Twitter feed:

Gun sales tend to peak in March due to new models hitting stores and old models being cleared out (much like car dealerships) but then fall in the summer. This year was very different. The March peak was WAY higher than normal and June nearly matched it in raw sales!

The authors noted that while more guns were sold in March 2020 than in June 2020, June  is the bigger outlier once you account for seasonal effects—implying that the riots that began in June drove a bigger relative increase in gun purchasing than the onset of the Wuhan virus crisis in March.

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