Amnesty warns increase in firearms sales in U.S. due to COVID-19 and gun stores being recognized as ‘essential businesses’ may lead to chaos

Amnesty International warned on Tuesday that gun buying spree at gun stored recognized as “essential businesses” will likely increase violence amid COVID-19 pandemic.

ABCNews reported that “at gun stores from California to New York, the American people are stocking up in enormous numbers, almost as if the end was near”.

“Trying to buy ammunition because of everything that’s going on with the virus and stuff, it’s horrible and I don’t want to take any chances,” Angel Colon told ABC News affiliate WPVI in Spanish.

ABCNews reported how people were arming themselves, lining up outside gun stores, or going online. The report said

“In February, the internet retailer reported a 309% increase in revenue and a 222% surge in transactions. The group is calling the sales “unprecedented.”, the report said.

“With the increase in firearms sales due to COVID-19 and 4.6 million children who already live in households with a firearm, staying at home may be safe for some but poses a new threat to many children,” Ernest Coverson, campaign manager for the End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) said in a statement on Tuesday.

“As recently as last week, we’ve seen accidental shootings happen already in Arizona, KentuckyMissouri, and Oregon, which have claimed the lives of children as young as 3 years-old.”

Coverson said “instead of taking aggressive measures to curb gun violence, the federal government has again prioritized gun ownership over the basic right to live in safety and listed firearms as essential and critical to pandemic infrastructure. Gun retailers are not essential businesses and should not remain open during this pandemic.” 

“With hospitals at critically low capacity due to the pandemic, we can not afford more injuries or deaths from gun violence. The federal government has made a mistake that will only lead to more lives lost because of senseless gun violence.” 

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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