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Gun permits surged during coronavirus in liberal-leaning states: Report

Stephanie Pagones

Gun permit applications increased in left-leaning states during the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a Brookings Institute report.

The institute analyzed Gallup data and found a negative relationship between people with conservative views and gun permit applications from February to April 2020 but saw a positive correlation between the permits and liberal-leaning states during that same time frame, according to the report, “How COVID-19 is changing the gun debate.”

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“While gun ownership is frequently mentioned as one of the hot-button issues that divides America, COVID-19 seems to be changing the tenor of the discussion. Though states with populations that predominately identify as conservative are more likely to own guns, this does not mean gun purchases have increased the most in these states during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report states, later adding: “[G]un permits have increased the most during the COVID-19 pandemic in states that tend to be more liberal, both in terms of citizen ideology and political party of state governor.”

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The report further outlines how four of the 10 states with the biggest spikes in gun permits were Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont, which are considered blue states, according to the report and 270towin.com.

Rhode Island topped the list in terms of permits, boasting a nearly 400 percent increase in gun permits from February to April 2020, Brookings reported. And Maine, which has the highest estimated liberal-leaning population at almost 35 percent, saw a more than 300 percent spike in permit applications, according to the report.

More than 2.5 million Americans became first-time gun owners in the first half of 2020, the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced earlier this month.

Nationwide, gun sales have skyrocketed during the past three months, and a record-breaking 80.2 percent increase in sales was reported in May compared to last year, according to the shooting foundation. April’s data showed a 71.3 percent increase from 2019, and there was an 85.3 percent increase in March, according to information previously released by Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting.

Smith & Wesson announced its net sales jumped 32.9 percent in its fourth quarter when it reported its earnings Thursday.

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The company said it has seen a "sudden increase in consumer demand" and is bracing for continued high demand.

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"In addition, our internal inventory levels allowed us to address the sudden increase in customer demand for our firearms in the quarter," Smith & Wesson said, "while we simultaneously engaged our component outsourcing partners and reactivated our flexible manufacturing model in preparation for ongoing strength in the consumer market for firearms."

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