FBI Says Background Checks Indicate Near-Record Gun Sales
The FBI on Tuesday reported that there were about 2.9 million background checks in the U.S. for the purchase of firearms in April—including one week that is among the top 10 highest ever– due, in part, to uncertainty over the coronavirus.
The Associated Press reported that 766,739 checks were requested on the week beginning April 13. The report pointed out that each background check could be for the sale of more than one gun.
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Increased gun sales were expected during the coronavirus due to concerns that state governments would increase their grip on Second Amendment rights, or attempt to temporarily ban sales altogether during the pandemic. In the early days of statewide lockdowns, some cities saw lines outside gun shops that circled blocks.
Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting estimated that 1.7 million guns were sold in April, which would indicate a 71 percent increase from 2019.
“[That] is most likely due to the continued fears of what the COVID-19 crisis may mean at the individual level for personal protection, safety and security,” Jurgen Brauer, the founder of the analytics group, said, according to KERANews.com. He pointed out that many of the new sales are from first-time owners.
The manager of Crosshairs Gun Store in Torrance, Calif., told ToddStarnes.com that the demand for guns has been consistent since mid-March. The manager, who only identified himself by his first name, Matt, said most customers are concerned about a societal breakdown, where law enforcement becomes overextended.
CNN reported that Illinois, Kentucky, Texas, Florida and California saw the highest number of background checks.
Amy Hunter, a National Rifle Association spokeswoman, told the network that April’s numbers are not surprising.
“Firearms sales go up in times of uncertainty because Americans know their safety is ultimately in their own hands,” she said. She continued, “Headlines remind us about prisoners being furloughed, first responders being told to selectively enforce laws or being minutes away when seconds count. Now, more than ever, it’s important that families have the ability and the tools they need to feel safe and able to defend themselves.”