Surge in firearms amid COVID-19 pandemic
Fears about COVID-19 and its broader societal and economic impacts have fueled a rush on gun stores. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
Data released by the hotline on March 25 shows that roughly 6 percent of the 951 callers who mentioned the COVID-19 crisis between March 10 and March 25 also said that they had been threatened or harmed with a gun. Callers who mentioned COVID-19 were more likely to mention guns than callers who did not. Research shows that an abuser with access to a gun is five times more likely to kill his victim than one without. Even when abusers do not shoot or kill their victims, Ray-Jones said, they often use the threat of gun violence to rape, terrorize, or to hold them hostage. Ray-Jones said reports that many people buying guns now are first-time gun owners with no training or experience are also troubling, since novice owners are more likely to store a gun unsafely or fire one accidentally. “Surging gun sales and shelter-in-place orders are leaving domestic violence victims trapped with their abusers, who, in America, have easy access to guns, and that is a deadly combination,” said Shannon Watts, founder of the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, in an interview.
[P1] Surge in firearms could increase the numbers of domestic violence cases.