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As The Trace was first to report, and multiple major newspapers have since amplified, the innumerable effects of the coronavirus crisis include at least one phenomenon of interest to readers of this newsletter: a big run on guns. More than just a business or culture story, the surge in firearm buying, including by first-time purchasers, will have lasting implications for our public safety, our public health, and our politics, threads our journalists will be following in the weeks and months to come.

Right now, Trace reporters are talking to their sources about other implications the pandemic will have for gun violence prevention, including possible new risks for domestic abuse victims and the secondary mission that some street outreach workers are adopting. We’ll be sharing those stories over the next few days.

In the meantime, we want to know: What are your questions about what the threat of COVID-19 means for the gun issue, or how our country’s abundance of firearms may affect the ways the coronavirus plays out here?

Please share them in this form, and our team will do our best to track down the answers.  —James Burnett, Editorial Director


A “roving active shooter” killed four people, including a police officer, in Missouri. On Sunday night, Springfield Police received multiple reports of shots fired across the south side of the city. Officers soon learned that the man suspected of the shootings had crashed his car, walked to a gas station, and opened fire. Three civilians were killed in the rampage. Two responding officers were shot, one fatally. The gunman died by suicide at the scene. Police did not disclose a motive.

The backstory on the fear of gun confiscation during disasters. Last week, the National Rifle Association raised the alarm that lawmakers in Champaign, Illinois, could use an emergency decree to seize guns (the city clarified that it had no such plans). Talk of gun confiscation amid disasters and social strife is nothing new: In this 2015 commentary for The Trace, Adam Weinstein looked at how the NRA fanned the specter of gun seizures after Hurricane Katrina to bolster its agenda.

Longtime NRA board member Ted Nugent makes latest xenophobic remarks. In an interview with the mass shooting hoaxer Alex Jones, Nugent described Asian culture as “evil.” Media Matters has the transcript. As The Trace has documented, Nugent has a history of making racially and culturally offensive remarks.

Teen gun reformers grapple with the future of their movement amid the pandemic. A spokesperson for March For Our Lives told The Verge, “We are developing a plan on how to move forward with our planned demonstrations, digital activism, and working with our various members and chapters across the country to ensure we continue to work towards ending gun violence in America.”


179 percent: The increase in ammunition sales recorded by in North Carolina between February 23 and March 4. — The Guardian