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‘I think people are scared’: Gun sales surge in Bay Area, state as pandemic stokes fear and desperation

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE October 23, 2020 – Bethtina Woodridge walked out of a Martinez sporting goods store Wednesday morning holding something increasingly popular in the Bay Area — and around California. The small, rectangular black box held a Glock 19, a pistol to accompany the pair of shotguns she and her wife bought in September.

Like most of the dozen customers at that hour who strolled in and out of Canyon Sports — a gun store inside a warehouse — Woodridge said she was buying the firearms for protection during what has become for many an unnerving period in modern American life.

As the pandemic sows misery and desperation, as social unrest grips the nation and on the cusp of a divisive, frantic presidential election, an increasing number of Californians appear to be assuaging a sense of insecurity by buying guns, research suggests.

“They’re for home defense,” Woodridge said. “Things are getting crazy, and they may be getting crazier.”

Woodridge, 44, who lives in Oakland, said break-ins and holdups at people’s homes are her biggest concern and that she worries about being able to protect her wife and son. “With COVID and people getting more desperate all the time, we started to get ready,” she said.

So have an increasing number of Californians, according to a recent report from UC Davis School of Medicine researchers, who looked at the impact of the coronavirus crisis on firearm purchases, reasons for buying guns and how new gun owners store their weapons.

Their analysis found that an estimated 110,000 Californians have purchased firearms because of the pandemic and that nearly half — 47,000 — are new gun owners. Many said the pandemic increased their concerns they’d become victims of violence.  [full article]

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