Firearm purchasing and storage during the COVID-19 pandemic

Inj Prev. 2021 Feb;27(1):87-92. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2020-043872. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


To better understand motivations behind purchase and storage of firearms during the COVID-19 pandemic, we used Amazon Mechanical Turk to conduct an online survey of individuals who did and did not purchase a firearm since 1 January 2020 in response to COVID-19. The survey was fielded between 1 and 5 May 2020. We asked about motivations for purchase, changes in storage practices and concern for themselves or others due to COVID-19. There were 1105 survey respondents. Most people who purchased a firearm did so to protect themselves from people. Among respondents who had purchased a firearm in response to COVID-19 without prior household firearm ownership, 39.7% reported at least one firearm was stored unlocked. Public health efforts to improve firearm-related safety during COVID-19 should consider increasing access to training and framing messages around the concerns motivating new firearm purchase.

Keywords: descriptive epidemiology; firearm; public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Equipment Safety / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Household Products / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Ownership / statistics & numerical data
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Safety
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult