CHICAGO - With all the unrest around the country and in Illinois following the death of George Floyd, Americans are hitting gun stores for protection.
“Safety, you know. It’s getting out of hand,” one man said.
The line at Midwest Sporting Goods in Lyons Tuesday stretched all the way around the side of the building, with scores of people waiting in the hot sun to get their hands on a gun.
“We came here, we’ve been standing in line for about an hour. And she just came out and said there’s nothing to purchase,” said Traci Beddingfield of Berwyn. “They’re all out.”
FOX 32 found the run on guns at other Chicago area stores, including North American Firearms in Lombard.
“[I’m looking for a gun right now] because when I’m driving, I need a gun on the side of me. For my protection. Because the city is right now in an uproar,” said Felicia Shaw of Chicago.
Images of violence and looting throughout the Chicago area have prompted many people whove never considered owning a gun to try to get one.
“I’m not comfortable. It’s scary. And I have too many family members that I worry about,” one woman said.
“I briefly looked at buying one when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. And the gun shops, everyone you called they are either sold out or there’s a huge waiting list. Everyone’s stocking up on guns and ammunition,” said Josh Graf of Wood Dale.
Nationally, gun sales in April were up 71-percent over last year and already the FBI has recorded 15-million background checks in 2020, which is more than half the total number of checks all last year.
Gun control advocates say studies show self-defense gun use occurs in less than 1-percent of all crimes and having a gun in the house leads to higher numbers of suicide and crimes of passion.
“I think that if you’re taught gun safety and you’re aware of it, [and] you understand how to use and operate a firearm, that’s a good thing,” said Sam Martel of Villa Park.