- People in the US are stockpiling guns and ammunition amid the coronavirus crisis.
- Some say they are afraid that as businesses are forced to close, looters will start emerging.
- Some retailers are also seeing an uptick of Asian-American customers, who are reporting that they are buying guns out of fear that they will be attacked.
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Guns and ammunition are among the many items that people are panic-buying as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread through the US.
So many people are lining up at gun shops and ordering online that some retailers have had to put limits on sales because of a supply shortage, according to USA Today.
On Sunday morning, a long line formed outside Martin Retting Guns store in Culver City, California, before the shop was even open, according to USA Today.
"People are scared," said Drew Plotkin of Los Angeles told USA Today. "There's a lot of panic in the world and people want to be protected for the worst-case scenario."
In the US, 69 people have died from confirmed coronavirus cases. The actual number may be higher as testing continues to lag. To limit the spread of COVID-19, some cities around the country have started to close schools and businesses.
Some who fear that the closures will lead to looting have started to stock up on weapons, according to USA Today.
Ralph Charette, 71, spent $1,500 at a gun shop in Germantown, Wisconsin, after he saw aggressive shoppers at the grocery store, according to the paper.
"There's so much uncertainty and paranoia but you've got to protect your own," Charette said.
The coronavirus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, but has since infected 169,387 people and killed another 6,513 around the world. The pandemic has lead to acts of racism and hate toward Asian Americans.
Retailers in California told Newsweek that they've seen an uptick in Asian customers buying guns.
"It was crazy," David Liu, the owner of Arcadia Firearm & Safety in San Gabriel Valley told Newsweek. "One example is on March 3 and 4, I had 50 plus people come in here to take their firearms safety test and everyone one of them bought a gun. That's quite unusual for my small shop."
Liu, who told Newsweek that Asians are buying guns because they're afraid of being targeted, said that his distributor is low on ammunition.
Dennis Lin, owner of Gun Effects and Cloud Nine Fishing in City of Industry, California, told KABC that he's also been seeing more Asian-Americans arming themselves.
"Just people discriminating," said Lin. "We forget, we're all people. We're in America, we're not in China."
Not all customers are waiting in lines, though.
Online retailer Ammo.com has reported an uptick in sales. The website reported a 68% spike between mid-February and early March, according to USA Today.
"We know certain things impact ammo sales, mostly political events or economic instability when people feel their rights may end up infringed, but this is our first experience with a virus leading to such a boost in sales," Alex Horsman, the marketing manager at Ammo.com said in a statement to USA Today.
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