Clio Zammatteo is an Italian-American blogger who lives in New York.

She recently posted a video (in Italian, as reported by la Repubblica) saying she had left New York because she was scared that people were buying guns.

The article provides a link to another la Republica story claiming people were lining up to buy guns.

Google translated:

Line up to stock up on weapons and ammunition. It happens in America, particularly in California, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina where the first outbreaks of Covid-19 appeared. The images, shot in Bob's Little Sport shop in New Jersey, show the place full of buyers who, panic-stricken by the emergency of the virus, buy ammunition and firearms. The fear is that the spread of the contagions will decrease the presence of law enforcement officers on the streets and that the closure of the shops could cause an increase in thefts and robberies.

Are New Yorkers buying more guns than usual in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic?

  • I have seen some Facebook-referenced news articles along these lines. Mar 19 '20 at 17:52
  • 3
    I'm not sure why she's using an article about 5 other states as proof that New Yorkers are buying guns.
    – DenisS
    Mar 19 '20 at 19:52
  • 2
    Like Chicago, I don't believe you can buy a hand gun in New York City unless you have friends in high places to get you a permit Mar 19 '20 at 20:04
  • @DenisS: My Italian is non-existent, but if I understand correctly, it wasn't Zammatteo who provided the reference, but the newspaper.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 20 '20 at 2:54
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    @user can you clarify whether this question is asking about New York State or New York City? They are subject to very different regulations and cultures around gun ownership. Mar 20 '20 at 16:22

They do:

For Some Buyers With Virus Fears, the Priority Isn’t Toilet Paper. It’s Guns.
Gun shops and ammunition dealers say they’ve seen a surge in purchases, particularly from first-time buyers.

The company said it recorded two-thirds more transactions in the 11 days after Feb. 22 — when Google Trends indicates that search interest for “coronavirus” began a new surge — than in the 11 days prior. Buyers in North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas led the increase in sales.

Even before virus concerns escalated or the stock market plunged in recent weeks, national politics were likely playing a role in rising sales.

— Richard A. Oppel Jr., New York Times, March 16, 2020


Gun sales are surging in many U.S. states, especially in those hit hardest by the coronavirus — California, New York and Washington.

— Kurtis Lee, Anita Chabria: "As the coronavirus pandemic grows, gun sales are surging in many states", LA Times, March 16, 2020 2:52 PM

And in some numbers

The ammunition website Ammo.com said it has recorded an unprecedented surge in bullet sales over the last three weeks. Administrators for the site, which ships ammunition to all but four states across the nation, released sales figures late Monday night showing a 77% increase in website visits between February 23 and March 15. Those visits led to a 222% increase in transactions over the same period when compared to the first three weeks in February.

Revenue has increased 309%, according to the site, which said coronavirus fears are fueling the sales surge.

In New York, where counties require residents to obtain a license to carry a handgun, the most popular firearms purchase has been shotguns, according to Timlin.

“The shotgun is one of the easier firearms to use and understand,” Timlin said. “It’s the best choice to make if someone was trying to harm you because of the way it functions.”

Ammo.com said that 40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun bullet sales have risen 645% recently, making them the most popular item sold on its website since the coronavirus started making national headlines earlier this year.

"Gun sales surge as coronavirus pandemic spreads", WHDH, March 19, 2020. (CNN)

As the legality of things is called into question by commentators:

Coronavirus Updates: Run on guns, ammo as people grapple with COVID-19 outbreak.

Background checks through the FBI system surged 36% in February compared with the same month last year to a total of 2.8 million.

Coronavirus: Firearm and ammo sales up at some Upstate NY sporting good stores

The Associated Press reports that across the country, sales of guns and ammunition have increased in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

That's true at American Sportsmen in East Rochester. Owner Fred Calcagno says sales have risen around 80 percent in the past couple of weeks. The biggest seller are shot guns, what he says is the gun a typically purchased as a home protection device.

“It's not the way I like to see people buying guns. I'd rather they make careful thought out decisions, but that's not the order of the day," he said. “It's the current thinking that if there is a complete breakdown in society, then people will be coming to your house to take what you have. Then they want to save their own possessions and whatever they have."

Calcagno says sales have been so brisk they are running out of guns and ammo, and have had to turn customers away.

— Alex Crichton: "Coronavirus brings on surge in sales of guns and ammo", WXXI News, MAR 17, 2020.

For some buyers with coronavirus fears, the priority isn’t toilet paper, cleaning products or food; it’s guns. A local area gun shop says it has seen a substantial increase in gun and ammunition sales. Allstar Tactical in Greece had a line of people waiting patiently early Tuesday eager to make their purchases, as sales of guns and ammunition soar amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Store owner Mike Centola says his sales increased ten times more than normal each day. “I think people are getting worried with everything shutting down,” said Centola. “And lack of food and toilet paper that at some point people will start to get crazy.” Centola says he has seen a boost in sales throughout the week.
“Every day,” said Centola. “We sold out of every single firearm and ammunition that we had in the store.”
— Natasha Acrie: "Guns and Ammunition Sales Soar Amid COVID-19 Concerns", Spectrum news, Greece, Mar. 17, 2020

New Yorkers flock to gun shops during coronavirus crisis In most parts of New York, anyone 18 or older who passes a background check can buy a long gun. (Laws in New York City are different.)

Compared to other places:

 22. New York +204%   5.56x45 ammo    +436%   9mm ammo    +172%   223 ammo    +102%

Ammo.com does not ship ammunition to Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, California, Washington, D.C., New York City, or Chicago.

If the question should be really about New York City residents, then a legal run on guns by previously gun.license-naive would-be users is rather unlikely, as the application process for will take some time. License owners however…

New York City and Its Gun Laws. How Strict Are They?
Gun laws in New York

  • 1
    The linked article is about national runs on guns, but the question asks specifically about New York (unclear whether city or state). At the state level, this seems to be true (syracuse.com/outdoors/2020/03/…), but the city is notoriously restrictive, and isn't mentioned in either source. Mar 19 '20 at 21:23

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