Amid COVID Gun Surge, Guns Down Calls on Major Retailers DICK’S, Walmart to Pause Sales of Guns and Ammunition During Black Friday

November 24, 2020

Holiday Season Could Lead to Record Gun Sales and Surging Gun Deaths if Trends Continue

WASHINGTON -- Guns Down America, a bolder, broader movement calling for dramatically fewer guns in America is kicking off a campaign asking major retailers to put public safety first and pause the sale of firearms and ammunition during Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

“For months, we have seen a surge in gun sales during the pandemic, and now we are starting to see the deadly consequence as gun deaths climb. Retailers can take clear action to prioritize the lives and well-being of their customers and their employees,” said Guns Down America Executive Director Igor Volsky. “Now is the time for major sporting goods retailers across the country to put community safety ahead of their profits and pause the sale of guns and ammunition.”

Over the last few years, retailers like DICK’S Sporting Goods and Walmart have recognized the danger of firearms and started to step back from firearm sales -- and saw their profits spike.

Over the course of 10 years, from 2009 to 2018, October, November and December accounted for roughly 30% of all likely firearm sales. Black Friday and the days around Christmas usually make up the largest number of background check requests in a single day each year.

This year, a significant number of Americans, some of them first-time gun buyers, rushed out to purchase firearms in response to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Homicides have increased in some of our major cities, as have unintentional shootings -- particularly amongst children.

In 2019, Guns Down America led the #WalmartMustAct coalition that led the nation’s largest retailer to “dramatically step back from gun sales.”