COVID & Gun Violence
What is the problem?
Unprecedented increases in gun sales, combined with economic distress and social isolation due to COVID-19, are intensifying the country’s gun violence crisis.
The United States has seen the collision of two major public health crises: COVID-19 and gun violence. While millions in the U.S. rushed out to purchase guns in the middle of a global pandemic, thinking they were buying safety, research shows that they were in fact exposing themselves to higher risks of gun violence. At the same time, structural inequities fueling community gun violence have been exacerbated. Moving forward, we must invest in policies that improve the plight of all Americans and save lives.
What are the solutions?
Close the Charleston Loophole
Under federal law, gun purchases may move forward by default after three business days—even if a background check has not been completed. While 90% of federal background checks are completed in minutes, those that take longer than three business days are four times as likely to be denied.
Secure Gun Storage
Gun owners can make their homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely. This means storing them locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. Securing firearms protects children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings and gun suicides.
Extreme Risk Laws
When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see the warning signs. Extreme Risk laws, sometimes referred to as “Red Flag” laws, allow loved ones or law enforcement to intervene by petitioning a court for an order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns.
Prohibit People With Dangerous Histories From Having Guns
People with dangerous histories should be prohibited from having guns. Federal law prohibits gun possession by certain categories of people. States also set standards for who is too dangerous to have guns. People prohibited by federal or state law will fail a background check if they try to buy a gun from a licensed dealer.
Violence Intervention Programs
Violence intervention programs provide comprehensive support to individuals who are at greatest risk of gunshot victimization. These programs are shown to reduce gunshot woundings and deaths in the neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence.
COVID & Gun Violence
How COVID-19 Has Increased the Need for Street Outreach Work
While many cities have reported drops in overall crime rates during the coronavirus pandemic and related stay-at-home orders, gun violence continues to persist in cities…Fact Sheet
Gun Violence and COVID-19
The US has seen the collision of two major public health crises: COVID-19 and gun violence.Report
Armed COVID-19 Protests Exploit Open Carry Loophole
Jeff Kowalsky, “People Take Park in a Protest for ‘Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine,’ at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 15, 2020,”…Fact Sheet
Extreme Risk Protection Orders during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased social isolation, fear, despair, and anxiety, leading to heightened risks of suicide. For someone in distress, access to a firearm…Fact Sheet
What Search Data Shows About Americans and Guns During the COVID-19 Crisis
Methods We extracted weekly data on all United States Google searches (including state-level data) related to gun preparation—those that contain the terms “buy gun(s)” or…Fact Sheet
How COVID-19 Has Made a Federal Background Check Loophole Even Deadlier
COVID-19 fears have led to record-breaking gun sales According to FBI data, March 2020 set the all-time record for the number of National Instant Criminal…Fact Sheet