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110,000 Californians bought firearms in the first months of the pandemic, 43% of whom did not own them before: LA Times

guns photo by Tumisu via

According to the LA Times on October 17, a survey by UC Davis found that, by mid-July, 110,000 new firearms were purchased in California; 57% of them were obtained by gun-owners and 43% by previously non-owners.

This is a dramatic increase and it overshadows the surges reported after other incidents that prompted new purchases, such as threats perceived to “Second Amendment Rights” that were prompted by media scares.

What possible use could a gun be for defense against a virus? Worse than using a cannon on a mosquito. Isn’t that irrational? Doesn’t it suggest that fear is overwhelming many people? Or does it mean that people will do anything they can when nothing can be done?

It seems that people fear unrest or the breakdown of law and order in the wake of the pandemic. One unintended consequence will be an increase in accidents, especially among those who have never owned a gun before and don’t know how to handle or store them.

Another unintended consequence will be an increase in suicides. The availability of a gun is a major factor in the increases in lethal suicide attempts that have been seen over the last twenty years. Most people don’t know that the suicide rate has increased over 50% in the new century.

Firearms are not inherently bad, but they are potentially dangerous, especially to their owners. Unfortunately, ownership of a gun seems to result in accidental and suicidal deaths far more than it does in deaths of home invaders or other miscreants.

Everyone who buys a gun should invest in secure, locked storage for their firearm to prevent misuse (especially by children, who seem to be unduly attracted to them) and keep the weapon out of sight when not needed.

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