Florida residents camp out to buy guns fearing Biden crackdown

Josh Marcus
·2 min read
<p>Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about his plan to curb gun violence in February 2020.</p> (Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about his plan to curb gun violence in February 2020.

(Getty Images)

Florida residents camped out outside gun stores as the Biden administration took office, fearing that the new president would lead a crackdown on firearms.

"I think we all believe Biden is going to take it away from us too," David Godkin, who was lined up outside of Academy Sports + Outdoors in Lake Mary, Florida, on Monday, told Fox 35 Orlando. Customers also mentioned having a hard time finding guns and ammo around the area.

The owners of Academy said people had been lining up as early as 2am outside the shop, which opens at 9am, to buy guns, echoing reports from Volusia Top Gun, another local gun shop with long lines in recent days.

"When Trump had mentioned a peaceful transfer of power, whatever exactly it was he said, seems like it’s been even more crazy than the crazy it was," own Ron Perkinson told Fox 35.

His sales have been up 100 per cent since the pandemic, and up another 100 per cent in the last two weeks.

Read more: Follow live updates and news on Inauguration Day 2021

On the campaign trail, Mr Biden vowed to “ban killer assault weapons” and push through other gun reforms including ending liability protections for gunmakers, registering currently owned assault weapons, buying back guns, and closing loopholes on background checks. None of his proposals involve involuntarily taking people’s guns.

During his time in Congress, Mr Biden was a prominent gun safety advocate, backing the bill which established federal background checks, as well as a 10-year assault weapons bans which has since expired.

Despite anecdotal reports, gun sales haven’t surged in recent weeks, according to an analysis from The Washington Post. Instead, sales began climbing in the spring during the early weeks of the pandemic, as an apocalyptic mood descended over the country and stores ran out of groceries.

They reached their peak in July, amid massive nationwide peaceful protests against police brutality that occasionally included rioting. Around 23 million guns were sold in 2020 altogether, a 64 per cent annual increase. Gun buyers have reported concerns ranging from the pandemic to white supremacy to the new administration as reasons for their purchases.

When he was in office, President Trump vowed some sort of gun reform, which never materialized.

"We don't want guns in the hands of the wrong people. I think that the Republicans are going to be great and lead the charge, along with the Democrats," Mr Trump said in August 2019.

Despite a lack of major federal reforms, the Trump era did see one big change in the gun world: the implosion of the National Rifle Association, once the nation’s most influential gun lobbying group, amid a cloud of lawsuits and accusations that top executives abused the non-profit’s funds.

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