“It’s really getting tough out there. The shelves are empty. Nobody has rice or chicken or milk or even toilet paper. I’m really worried about how much longer this is gonna go on.”
“You think that’s bad? I went shopping today and all I could find was .45 caliber and .38 Special. For the 12-gauge, I couldn’t find buckshot, only birdshot. And AR-15s are flying off the shelves, even the really cheap ones.”
Since the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., gun sales have soared. On March 16 the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been running roughly double the number of checks it was running over the same period in 2019. In San Diego, Poway Weapons and Gear reported that over the last week their sales of firearms and ammunition have doubled.
A reminder about safe firearm storage
At SD4GVP, we’ve been urging our elected officials to post information on their websites and in social media to remind both new and experienced gun owners about safe storage of firearms in the home. With more children home from school and mounting anxiety over coronavirus, the risk of suicides, unintentional shootings and even homicides is greatly increased.
The following statistics reflect the toll of gun violence in the best of times:
- 1,500 children are killed by guns every year.
- 6 million children live in homes with unsecured guns.
- 51 percent of suicides involve a firearm.
- Abused women are 5 times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that abuser has a firearm.
Citizens are turning to firearms as a way of protecting themselves, their families and their property in the coronavirus pandemic. We believe that reminding them of state and local laws about safe storage of firearms in the home could save lives, especially in the homes of first-time gun owners.
With more firearms comes more responsibility
California’s Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws hold a person criminally liable if he or she stores or leaves a gun where a child can access it. San Diego’s Safe Storage Ordinance takes the California law a step further by specifying how firearms must be stored. Ordinances similar to San Diego’s, were also adopted in Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation and all gun-violence prevention organizations provide the following guidelines for safe firearm storage:
- Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case inaccessible to children.
- Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.
That’s why we urge our elected officials to remind their constituents to safely store their firearms. We are promoting the message of safe storage on our own social media and are willing to promote messages from city, state and national authorities.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And encourage your fellow citizens to store their firearms safely, whether during a pandemic or afterwards.
John White is a volunteer with San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention.
Photo credit: Dan Keck