The relationship between owning a gun and Coronavirus is difficult to understand. The fact is, the FBI was busy processing more than 3.7 million gun background checks in March as a part of gun control. It broke all previous records and the timing tallied with the outbreak of COVID-19. The obvious inference is that Americans want to stock up on weapons. Gun background checks started in 1998 and the earlier record was 3.3 million in December 2015. March 2020 has surpassed that. The nation recorded over 21 deaths in 2019. ABC News reported and some of them saw the closure of schools in many states.

The Trump administration issued an advisory. It classified firearms dealers as essential. By the middle of March this year, President Donald Trump wanted Americans to go in for social-distancing. He also cautioned about a potential recession.

Daily Mail UK says that there was a spurt in the number of background checks on March 20. The FBI conducted more than 210,000 checks on that day. Most of the buyers in the recent past were first-time gun owners.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation confirms this. In the opinion of gun-control advocates, such a situation could lead to problems. This could be because of a lack of training for handling and storing their new weapons. History says there were earlier spikes soon after the re-election of President Barack Obama and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

In the incident, a student shot dead other kids and teachers and finally himself. It was a sort of wake-up call for the authorities.

Checks on criminal past rocket

The number of background checks are a barometer of gun sales. The sudden rush to procure guns has resulted in tensions between advocates of the Second Amendment and supporters of gun control.

It is the perennial debate of owning a firearm. One group explains the long queues at gun stores as proof that people want the right to own a gun. The opposition counters by suggesting that the entry of guns into stressed-out households could be a recipe for domestic violence and suicides.

Daily Mail UK adds that the demand for handguns was more when compared to long guns. David Chipman, a retired official from a gun control group cautioned, “We need to prepare for the increased risk of more firearms in untrained hands.

If you didn't think you needed a gun prior to March of this year, you certainly don't need to rush out and get one now.” The tussle continues between the gun lobby and the gun control advocates. Some of them feel gun industry groups are exploiting the ongoing crisis to help gun manufacturers. It is a clash of interests.

Control incomplete without checks

According to CNN, there was a definite surge last month in the number of background checks. The FBI confirms this. Illinois topped the list followed by Texas, Kentucky, Florida, and California. Checks are mandatory irrespective of the source, which could be at a store or at a gun show. FBI checks the details furnished by the buyer in order to ensure that there is no criminal record against the buyer.

These are part of gun control. The sudden spurt in attempted firearm purchases in the United States coincides with the spread of the deadly coronavirus. It appears to be associated with fear and anxiety because many people have to remain confined to their homes most of the time.

A deterrent to gun violence

Guns are freely available in the US and when these weapons fall into the wrong hands, the results can be tragic. Hence, there was a need to introduce some form of gun control. CNN says the National Rifle Association suggests the sudden increase in FBI background checks could relate to concerns about personal safety during the coronavirus pandemic. In the words of NRA spokesperson Amy Hunter: "Firearm sales go up in times of uncertainty because Americans know their safety is ultimately in their own hands." Anyway, the fact remains that gun violence kills innocents and gun control can act as a deterrent.

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