Study: 110,000 Guns Have Been Sold in California Since Pandemic Began

AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer


Researchers studying the effects of the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns on violence and firearms purchases in California have released findings indicating that 110,000 guns were sold in the state from mid-March through mid-July, and that 47,000 of those guns were sold to first-time gun owners.

The objective of the 2020 California Safety and Wellbeing study, conducted by researchers from the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center and Violence Prevention Research Program, was:

To describe individuals’ worry about violence for themselves and others in the context of the pandemic, pandemic-related unfair treatment, as well as the prevalence of and reasons for firearm acquisition and changes in firearm storage practices due to the pandemic.

The findings are based on responses from 2,870 Californians over the age of 18, weighted to be representative of the “noninstitutionalized adult population of California,” and was conducted via email over the course of a week in mid-July.

Based on responses to the survey, researchers extrapolated the number of firearms purchased during the first four months of the pandemic and how many of those were to first-time purchasers.

Local gun store owners and employees, though, believe that number is very low.

A July 13 Brookings Institute piece claimed that three million more firearms were sold in the United States from March through June 2020 than normally would have been sold in that time frame, spurred by pandemic panic and the civil unrest that occurred following George Floyd’s death. And, a June opinion piece in California’s Mercury News stated that in March there were 164,000 background checks for firearms purchases — just in California. Those two pieces add credibility to the gun store owners’ and employees’ belief that the study’s finding that 110,000 guns were sold during the first four months of the pandemic is a very low estimate.

Regardless of exactly how many guns have been sold in California this year, there’s no disputing that there’s a whole new segment of people in California valuing their Second Amendment rights.