Gun store owners prepare for a surge in sales in anticipation of Americans spending their stimulus checks on guns after President Joe Biden signed-off on his massive $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief package last week.
"Stimulus check equals gun money," said Brandon Wexler, owner of Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, Florida. "I do anticipate that when people get a stimulus check they will spend it on firearms, accessories, high-capacity magazines and ammo, if they can get it."
Whether it be the rise in civil unrest throughout our nation’s cities, the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol, or simply just for pleasure, Americans flocked to gun stores after receiving the first round of stimulus checks in 2020.
Al Tawil, the owner of a gun store and range in Ohio called Towers Armory, told Forbes that "his weekly sales jumped by about 20% right after mid-April 2020, when many Americans received the first $1,200 stimulus payments from the federal government."
"We’re expecting another big sale when the stimulus comes out," said Tawil. "They’ve got the extra money and people go indulge themselves with something they can’t normally afford. Some people want a car. Some people want a gun."
Tawil told Forbes that customers are buying semiautomatic pistols for self-protection and they sell out quickly — popular brands like Taurus, Sig Sauer and Glock are tough to keep in stock.
Tawil expressed that customers seek to purchase AR-15’s because they’re targeted by President Biden’s gun control plan. He also said that demand has outstripped supply, making it difficult to stock ammunition.
According to the FBI, federal background checks totaled 2.91 million, a 25 percent jump from the year before after Americans received their stimulus payments in April 2020. Federal background checks jumped 34 percent in December 2020 after Americans received their second round of stimulus payments, Forbes reported.
The United States saw a record high purchase in gun sales as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the nation’s cities. Background check statistics conducted by the FBI conclude that there were a total of 39.69 million background checks last year. While background checks are not the same as gun sales, the federal data serves as the closest nationwide proxy.
According to an estimate from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, more than eight million Americans bought a gun for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
Retailers acknowledge that stimulus payments have a direct impact on sales. Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith mentioned, in an earnings call with analysts last week, that they are expecting an increase in sales once Americans receive their stimulus payments.
"I am sure we will get a spike, said Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, NC. "If gun legislation is introduced at the same time, it could be huge."