Gun sales spike during COVID-19 pandemic; requests for background checks up in Tenn.

Posted at 6:15 AM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 07:23:10-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — More Tennesseans are trying to get firearms amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has seen a sharp increase in background check requests.

According to the TBI, the increase in background check requests in Tennessee aligns with national trends during the pandemic.

In mid-March the TBI processed more than 14,000 firearm background requests. That’s almost double the amount requested in February.

TBI employees saw delays because of this increase, as well as having limited staff and unplanned technical outages.

Kristin Brown the President of Brady, the gun violence advocacy group, says people thinking about bringing a gun in the home should think about the risk it may have on the very people you’re trying to protect.

"Kids in this environment are incredibly curious. They're bored. They're much more likely than ever to come upon a loaded and unsecured weapon and that turns deadly,” said Brown.

Researchers say each day, eight children are killed in a home shooting. Some gun violence advocates are afraid this number will increase because kids are home due to Coronavirus.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.