Americans Buy Guns with $1,400 Stimulus Checks

Protest Biden gun control and defend from civil unrest

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When Pres. Biden and Congressional Democrats pushed through stimulus checks to help us get through the pandemic, they probably didn’t count on self defense as the primary need. Many Americans took the $1,400 stimulus checks and went right to the local gun store in March. It was a needed purchase for some, extra spending money for others and a protest against the Democrats’ gun control by all. 

I picked up on this source of funding for the record-breaking gun purchases this year when I wrote about Pres. Biden being the best gun salesman since his former boss, Pres. Obama. The comments on my story were all similar to these:

Rick R.:  I had been hemming and hawing about buying a very nice SAFN-49 battle rifle (7.92mm Mauser, similar in nature to an M1 Garand, only better) that was on sale for some time now, but the latest stimulus decided… Thanks, President Biden! I've wanted one for some time, but now I can justify the $1200 purchase!

Brian Ritchie: I’ve bought 4 so far with stimulus money.  Thanks democrats! 

To figure out if the comments were anecdotal or a real pattern in spending, I asked people to tell me more about their decisions. 

New Gun Owners

Chris and I spoke on the phone as he was driving from his day job to his part-time second job outside Houston. He is a former Marine but didn’t have guns at his home until now. He used the $1,400 stimulus check to buy a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun to use to carry (he’s working on getting his carry permit) and an AR-15 for home self defense. 

“I never really felt the need for them outside of when I was in the military. I’ve never been in a situation in civilian life when I felt even close to needing them,” he explained.

“But in the society we’re living in now -- with the protests downtown Houston and seeing the riots in LA where they’re pulling people out of their cars -- you have to take things in your own hands to protect yourself and your family.”

Chris said he and his wife agreed to buy the guns.  “It’s the culmination of everything going on now. When the stimulus money came in, I was just like, this makes the best sense for using it -- more important than savings.” 

Kevin Baker who writes the blog the Smallest Minority explained the pattern for men like Chris. “The people buying guns now are not the ‘gun nuts.’  We (like me) already have guns.  Lots of guns,” Baker emailed.

“The people buying guns now have decided that it's time to finally buy a gun because they realize that the government isn't going to protect them against rioters, against criminals, against anything.  They are largely new gun owners, and that is a sea-change.”

Reaction to Biden & Pelosi Gun Control

Many who contacted me said the $1,400 deposit was some extra spending money and a way to protest Biden’s gun-control efforts. 

“My 1400 Stimmi bought me a S&W M&P Shield Plus 9mm (you should try one!) and 860 rounds of 5.56mm ammo,” Ron from Michigan wrote. 

“I purposely purchased another handgun and a PCC and suppressor because Biden "won" the election,” Curt DuPuis said. “The stimulus money made the purchases possible as I was also laid off last year due to covid.”

Gun sales were the highest first quarter of the year in history, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents firearms and ammunition manufacturers and dealers. 

"Gun sales go up when the rhetoric is turned up," Larry Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for NSSF. "We are seeing people making a political statement because of the rhetoric from Biden and the Democrats on gun control."

Keane added that the stimulus money fuels the sale: "Now the government provided the means for these buyers to buy a firearm."

Extra Spending Money & Stockpiling

Some people told me they used the second stimulus check in late December ($600) to buy guns. While Pres. Trump was still in office and Republicans controlled the Senate at that point, the gun buys were from extra spending money and stockpiling for the Democratic takeover on Jan. 20.

Bill Cyrus bought his wife a gun after the $600 stimulus last year. “A nice one from Steyr was previously beyond the budget but exactly the right one for her,” he messaged. 

Mike Hanson was ahead of a gun ban. He bought a style of handgun that Pres. Biden just ordered be regulated by ATF in an executive action.  “My first stimulus check I used to buy an AR-15 pistol, 7.5” barrel, 300 Blackout with a folding brace,” he wrote. “I plan to use that for wild pig hunting this fall.”

Kevin Baker, who said he already has lots of guns, spent every dime of both stimulus checks on gun-related accessories. His purchases were: a holographic sight ($309); buttstock ($242.50); leather butt cuff cuff ($95); spotting scope ($900);   tripod for the spotting scope ($92.00); and a new grip ($62). The grand total was $1,700.50.

Baker added that, “The remaining $300 is going towards building a portable shooting bench. Lumber has become stupid expensive.”

Gun buying with the $1,400 stimulus money is unquestionably linked to the changing politics against guns in Washington.

“Did I need another gun? No. Did I want one? Yes,” Paul wrote in the comments. “Did I want to use our taxpayer money to stick it to the man? If course! Yes, I overpaid, but it needed to be done.”

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