It has been clear since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that COVID-19 would not stop the gun violence epidemic. Instead, it is exacerbating it.
Across the country, gun sales have surged to record highs. Reports suggest that these sales have been driven by first-time buyers, with fears about the global pandemic and nationwide unrest. Research shows that the presence of guns makes a home less safe, not more. And the risks associated with guns in the home may only be amplified by the steps necessary to fight COVID-19.
As families are home together for extended periods of time, the risk of domestic violence increases. As everyone practices social distancing amidst unprecedented economic hardship, feelings of social isolation and helplessness—risk factors for suicide—increase. And as millions of children are home from school and extracurricular activities, the risk of unintentional shootings grows.
Troublingly, social distancing guidelines have not slowed the rate of mass shootings. In fact, despite regulations keeping schools and workplaces closed and prohibiting large gatherings, mass shootings have reached record-breaking highs during the pandemic.
It is clear that our communities will be confronting both the coronavirus pandemic and the gun violence epidemic for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, we compiled a list of resources—including mental health helplines, safe firearm storage options, and more—that can help keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. We know this list is not comprehensive. If you have a resource you think should be added, please let us know.