The Officer Down Memorial Page is reporting that more law enforcement officers have died so far this year from COVID-19 related problems than from gunfire, suggesting that some of the public panic earlier in the spring that led many people to purchase firearms over fears police services might be impacted by the pandemic might have been justified.
For example, the Richmond, VA Times-Dispatch noted, “Virginia gun sales soared to historic levels in June, the second record spike in three months, in a tumultuous year marked by the long-term uncertainty of COVID-19, the economic turmoil it brought, protests over racial injustices and activists’ demands to defund the police.”
And Fortune reported online, “U.S. consumers are rushing to buy guns as the Covid-19 pandemic and protests over police brutality combine with U.S. presidential politics to fuel unprecedented demand.
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Firearm background checks compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a proxy for gun purchases, jumped to a record in June as street demonstrations spread around the U.S. That extended a surge that began in March as the coronavirus prompted lockdowns across the country.”
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, so far this year 51 lawmen and women have died from COVID-19 while gunfire accounted for 27 fatalities, and there is one death listed as “inadvertent” gunfire, without explaining what that means.
Fourteen officers/deputies have died in automobile crashes, two more in motorcycle crashes and four have been struck by vehicles. Two more died in vehicle pursuits and five from “vehicular assault.”
In total, there have so far been 116 line-of-duty law enforcement deaths this year, according to the Officer Down page.
Fortune’s story also reported something else that the media sometimes overlooks.
“Gun sales,” the article noted, “are typically elevated the year people go to the polls to choose a new president, ‘particularly in the fall as we get closer to the election,’ said Peter Keith, an analyst at Piper Sandler. ‘I think you’ll probably see continued strong demand around the civil unrest and the defund-the-police theme for July and August.’”
With career anti-gunner Joe Biden the likely Democrat nominee to challenge President Donald Trump in November, gun sales are sure to climb, if the Fortune scenario plays out.
But with more fatalities blamed on the virus than on guns, it might be more challenging for the gun prohibition lobby to use officer safety as an excuse to push their agenda.
The gun sales phenomenon isn’t just confined to the East. Out in Washington State’s Puget Sound region, KIRO Eyewitness News—the local CBS affiliate in Seattle—also reported brisk gun sales, and that’s an area considered heavily liberal. The gun buying spree began with the coronavirus panic, but has continued through the early June protest period that turned into riots in downtown Seattle, and the seizure of six blocks of that city’s Capitol Hill area.
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