While many financial advisors are suggesting stock picks, and financial columnists are touting debt reduction, others are buying guns and ammunition with their impending $1,400 “stimulus” checks.

First, a quick note about the next round of checks being called “stimulus” or “COVID relief”: Since only 9% of the package passed by Congress and signed by the President has anything to do with COVID, it’s not accurate to call it COVID relief. And since our grandchildren will be paying for this huge expenditure, and the President is now talking about a huge tax increase to pay for it, it cannot accurately be called stimulus either. 

For the sake of this blog, let’s call it the “Crutch Check.” Harry Browne said:

“The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, ‘See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.’”

Back to how to spend your $1,400 Crutch Check, if you are in fact receiving one.

Gun sales have been soaring. The purchases of firearms in January 2021 were up 75% over the same period in 2020. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that first-time gun buyers accounted for nearly 5 million new gun purchases, in just the first 7 months of 2020. That many new gun owners, people who are taking responsibility for their own family’s self-defense, is an encouraging sign. Some of those new gun owners were logically concerned about civil unrest throughout 2020. Long-time gun owners welcome them, and are happy to direct them to the training they need. 

And all those new gun owners need ammunition. They need it for their training and for their self-defense rounds. Add that increased demand of new gun owners to the ammunition scarcity due to government shutdowns of all workplaces last spring, and the result is less availability and skyrocketing prices. Depending on the caliber, ammunition prices have soared to 5 times the prices in 2019. And that’s when it’s actually in stock. The lack of inventory further increases the reality and appearance of scarcity.

According to Forbes, many gun stores reported an increase in gun and ammunition sales, that coincided with the previous rounds of checks. They anticipate they will see this same pattern once the $1,400 arrives, like magic, in taxpayers’ accounts. 

Just as the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 caused people to buy more toilet paper than they ever thought they would want, the current ammunition shortage is driving the same purchasing behavior.