Gun sales in March hit the highest level since the Sandy Hook shooting, according to The New York Times.
Americans bought about 1.9 million guns in March amid the coronavirus crisis, according to the report. The data is based on the number of background checks reported by the FBI, so many private sales may not be included in the total.
“People are nervous that there’s a certain amount of civil disorder that might come if huge numbers of people are sick and a huge number of institutions are not operating normally,” Georgia State University law professor Timothy Lytton told the outlet. “They may have an anxiety about protecting themselves if the organs of state are starting to erode.”
Highest number since Sandy Hook:
US gun sales have only eclipsed the March total once, in the month following the Sandy Hook shooting in January 2013.
That sales rush came shortly after President Obama won his re-election.
Gun sales also spiked in 2015 when Obama tried to create restrictions on assault weapons after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
States declare gun stores “essential”:
The sales numbers came after numerous states allowed gun stores to stay open even as they shuttered “non-essential” businesses.
Many states have since seen sales double compared to February. Some states, like Michigan and Utah, saw gun sales tripe.
The Trump administration labeled gun stores as essential businesses last month.