everyday discrimination, Black individuals, gun violence, firearm surge purchasing, COVID-19


Public Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences



Purpose: During 2020, the US experienced a record-breaking year for firearm purchases, with major spikes occurring at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and in June 2020. This study aimed to examine the factors associated with firearm purchasing during a purchasing surge among Black individuals and to document their reasons for surge purchasing.

Methods: We conducted a cross sectional survey from January to June 2021. Participants were recruited through quota sampling using Qualtrics. This study focuses on a sample of Black individuals (n=1115) from which a subsample of respondents (n=108) indicated that they purchased firearms since March 2020.

Results: In the sample of Black surge purchasers, greater experiences of COVID-19 traumatic stress (aOR = 1.08; 95% CI = 1.018-1.141) were associated with increased odds of having purchased a firearm between March 2020 and June 2021. Everyday discrimination (aOR = 1.02, 95% CI = .997-1.042) was not associated with Black individuals purchasing a firearm during the firearm surge. Regarding the reasons for firearm surge purchasing, only COVID-19 exhibited a notable difference in the rate of endorsement between Black (19.5%) and White respondents (30.3%).

Conclusion: The findings indicate that COVID-19 traumatic stress prompted surge purchasing among Black individuals. Further study is needed to understand how social determinants of health result in firearm surge purchasing in Black communities.