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NAT’L – SELF-PROTECTION – First-time gun buyers are fueled by fears over the pandemic, the economy, and nationwide protests (VIDEO)

Michael Braunlin bought his first gun in March, as fears of the coronavirus pandemic were taking hold in the US. “A lot of it was around not knowing what was happening and not having a lot of assurance from my government that we were going to be kept safe and protected,” Braunlin told Business Insider Today. During a record-breaking year of firearm background checks across the country, he wasn’t the only one to make that decision. “As I was watching more and more people panic-buy, I said, OK, I think I need to be purchasing a firearm just in case something happens,” Braunlin said. So far in 2020, gun background checks have already reached monthly all-time highs twice. In March, the FBI conducted 3.7 million checks — the most since the bureau started keeping track in 1998. Then in June, that record was broken with 3.9 million. All four weeks of the month made the list of top 10 weeks with the most firearm background checks ever. At Stock & Barrel Gun Club in Minnesota, shop owners have noticed the influx of first-time gun buyers. “There are a number of people who, maybe a couple, three years ago would have never seen themselves as gun owners come through the doors,” Kevin Vick, executive vice president of the club, told Business Insider Today. The biggest surge of recent sales here has been with handguns and shotguns — not for hunting, but for self-protection. “I don’t feel safe right now, so I need to make sure I’m safe,” customer Victoria Legato said. “People are scouring,” Randy Quick, another customer, added. “They’re emptying the shelves, you know? So it’s a different time.” Gun background checks tend to increase following tragic incidents, like after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. But this year’s figures have reached new levels.  [full article]

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