In March, nearly two million guns were purchased, according to an analysis conducted by the New York Times. It was the largest amount of guns sold in one month in the United States since January 2013. Though it’s uncertain why so many were purchased, public health experts have speculated that it was related to fears of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Andrea Cabral, the former Sheriff of Suffolk County and Secretary of Public Safety, said the desire to own a firearm right now is a response to a lack of faith in the federal government to shepherd the nation through the pandemic. In a poll conducted by the Economist and YouGov, 57 percent of respondents said they thought the nation was not on the right course to combat the virus.

Cabral said this fear could lead to concerns about a possible breakdown in society, prompting some who would not have before to consider purchasing a firearm.

“It really is, I think, a fear of what's ahead because we are so incredibly destabilized largely due to the complete inability of the Trump administration to actually run federal government,” Cabral said during an interview with Boston Public Radio on Thursday. “We’ve faced dire situations before. 9/11 didn’t necessarily make people run out, at least not in Massachusetts, and want to buy a firearm.

"There was clearly fear, and there was clearly a sense that we were a lot more vulnerable to terrorist attacks than perhaps many people thought, but the reaction wasn’t this.”

Cabral is the former Suffolk County Sheriff, former secretary of public safety, and CEO of Ascend