BY JOHN BOCH | MAR 17, 2020

coronavirus gun sales
Stephanie Miller, of Atlanta, places shotgun in her shopping cart as she checks out Adventure Outdoors Monday, March 16, 2020, in Smyrna, Ga. Miller said she had been on the fence about guns but with recent events she decided to buy guns. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Now that our world has become a significantly more tension-filled place with the spread of the Chinese coronavirus affecting almost every aspect of daily life, a lot of non-gun owners have reconsidered their opinion on firearm ownership. Feeling less safe and secure during a national emergency makes people reconsider how they’d protect themselves and their families.

The natural result: lines out the door at most gun stores, as a lot of people have decided now is the time to buy their first firearm.

Virus Outbreak gun sales coronavirus
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

But that’s not always easy. Some states impose waiting periods of anywhere from three to as many as ten days to pick up a newly purchased firearm. Here in Illinois, you also have to have a Firearm Owner ID card, a process that can take months to clear.

Then there are the state and federal background check processing delays that have resulted from the sales surge. Those are taking anywhere from a few minutes to a few days right now, depending on where you live.

All of this means that not everyone who wants a gun right now can get one right now (never mind the ammunition needed for it).

Luis Valdes for TTAG

What, then, do you do when those non-gun owners — especially those who may have expressed anti-gun opinions in the past — come to you asking to borrow a gun?

How do you handle the people who recognize you as the “gun owner” in their lives… the people who now want you to loan them some iron so they can keep their families safe?  What do you say if you’re asked?

Well, in many states, current laws preclude firearm transfers without background checks and even licensing (*cough* Illinois *cough*).

“But c’mon, it’s me, your buddy,” he says as his two adorable little girls stand behind him. “I’ve gotta protect my girls!”

We all know that if your “buddy” had felt this urge to protect his little angels sooner, this conversation wouldn’t be happening.

Instead of him bad-mouthing guns (and gun owners) in the past, your “buddy” could have bought a gun (or three) and learned how to use it effectively. Or at least which end should be pointed downrange.

But he didn’t, and now he’s approached you for help.

“Do you have a gun I could borrow?”

What do you do in a case like that? Do you loan others a gun? If so, what kind? Do you disregard any local laws that prohibit it in an emergency situation?

Personally, I wouldn’t loan a non-gun owner anything. Not even a single-shot shotgun.

I would decline, less because of Illinois’ ludicrous laws, but more because I’d be worried that someone in that family would accidentally hurt themselves or another family member with it. And guess where they would then point their finger afterward if that happened.

Yeah, not me.

At the same time, I would offer to get them started in the laborious licensing process here. I’d even offer to help them visit a range to test-fire some different guns and help them select a gun that works for them. After the emergency has ended and it’s safer to venture out in public again, of course.

I would see it as an opportunity to welcome them into gun ownership.

Clearly, your mileage may vary on this issue. Leave your thoughts in the comments about whether or not you would loan a gun to a friend, family member or co-worker in a perceived emergency. Especially someone who had spoken ill of gun ownership in the past.

My general take is if I wouldn’t loan you a gun before this started, I’m not very likely to do so now. I know it sounds hard assed, but the liability issues alone in my case would make it unlikely to happen. Now that 9mm and 45ACP is disappearing again, a word to the wise always have at least 1000 rounds of ammo for any caliber you depend on, then you won’t be in this situation. In my case it can flex a bit, but I also have the ability to reload any pistol caliber or shotgun ammo I need.

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