Just as the novel coronavirus pandemic has sent people to grocery outlets to stockpile household supplies, there has also been a spike of people across the country purchasing firearms and ammunition, some of them for the first time.
On Monday afternoon, two gun retailers on Burbank’s Magnolia Boulevard — Burbank Ammo & Guns and Gun World — had at least a dozen or so people waiting outside either wanting to purchase a weapon and ammunition or to pick up a recent acquisition.
A third store along Magnolia, Guns Direct, had a sign posted on its door telling customers it was closed for the day and would reopen on Tuesday with restocked items.
When news cameras approached Burbank Ammo & Guns, a store employee told the people waiting in line to speak to those members of the media they wanted to talk to. After that announcement, none of the customers were willing to participate in an interview.
Down the street at Gun World, Burbank resident David Damiani was planning to purchase his first firearm, saying that he needed something to protect himself and his family should someone try to break into their house and steal their valuables and other goods.
“I’m here because I’m scared (expletive),” he said. “I just don’t know what’s going on. I’ve never had a gun and never felt like I needed one, but now I feel like not having one is almost negligent. People are acting crazy.”
Unless a person is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, it is legal for a private citizen to own a gun and purchase ammunition if they are allowed to do so, Burbank Police Sgt. Derek Green wrote in an email on Monday.
However, he continued, he does not know what has led the public to feel the need to purchase additional ammunition.
“The Burbank Police Department is confident in its ability to continue serving our community and keeping citizens safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic,” Green wrote. “We strongly discourage anyone from taking matters into their own hands and encourage people to call the police if they are having an issue or need assistance.”