The pandemic lockdowns have been wrecking a lot of previously successful businesses all through the summer and that’s had a significant, negative impact on the economy. But there’s one sector of the market that’s apparently doing quite well for itself. That would be the nation’s gun shops, or at least the ones in states where they are allowed to be open. A record number of people have suddenly developed a new appreciation for our Second Amendment rights and have been streaming into gun stores far and wide to purchase firearms. The numbers are too far above the averages to write this off as some temporary glitch in the usual sales patterns. These aren’t repeat purchasers picking up an extra weapon, either. We’re talking about first-time gun buyers only. As National Review reports this week, we’re talking about as much as a 100% spike in sales in some places.

Using the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System, National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm trade association, estimates that there were over 12 million guns bought in the first seven months of 2020 — up more than 70 percent over the same time span in 2019. This number is likely to include nearly 5 million first-time gun owners so far this year. That is probably the biggest surge in gun ownership in American history. It’s worth noting, too, that the number would likely be higher if gun shops hadn’t been trying to keep up with demand for months.

It’ll be interesting to see the long-term political implications of this surge. The 2020 Democratic ticket is the first in history to feature a candidate that has explicitly called for the confiscation of firearms. One imagines many of these first-time buyers aren’t hobbyists, but rather people who felt the need to arm themselves for self-defense — either because of the coronavirus crisis, the rioting and lawlessness, or the “defund the police” efforts. If Joe Biden wins the presidency, gun sales are sure to keep spiking.

Five million new (first time) gun owners in the United States? Let that sink in for a bit. What could be driving these figures beyond normal election year jitters?

If it wasn’t already obvious, just flip through all the news coming out of Kenosha. As Allahpundit pointed out earlier, even Don Lemon is starting to panic because the polls are already showing that people are noticing the spreading violence and riots. When citizens stop believing that someone will answer their 911 call and show up promptly, they begin considering other options. And arming yourself is probably option number one.

On that note, let’s see what the Sheriff of Polk County has to say on this subject, even though he was saying it already back in June. (You’ll want the volume on for this brief public service announcement.)

“I would tell them, if you value your life, you probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be inside their homes tonight with their guns loaded. And if you try to break into their homes tonight and try to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns.”

Hyperbole? Maybe for now, but probably not for much longer if somebody doesn’t get a handle on this. In closing, I will once again remind everyone of something we’ve been pointing out here for a while now. The police are not just there to defend the law-abiding. They are also there to protect the criminals. Because when the Thin Blue Line breaks down and citizens start taking matters into their own hands in the face of widespread criminal activity, it generally doesn’t go well for the criminals. And yes… there are a lot of guns out there. And this year there are five million more.