Americans continued to buy guns in record numbers in June as the coronavirus outbreak continued, and amid nationwide protests, riots and other waves of civil unrest.
The bureau conducted 3,931,607 checks in June, a 70 percent increase from the same time period last year, according to the FBI.
The shocking number of NICS background checks also edged out March, the first month of the pandemic, when 3,740,688 background checks were conducted.
Through June, 19,180,047 NICS checks have been carried out this year.
For context, 19.6 million background checks were conducted for the entire year in 2012, and just over 21 million checks were conducted in 2013, when anti-gun rhetoric following former President Barack Obama’s re-election saw Americans line up to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Gun sales and inquiries also tend to increase just before and after national elections.
In 2016, NICS reported 27,538,673 gun inquiries.
Last year, a record 28.4 million background checks were conducted by the FBI for the entire year, but sales for 2020 are on pace to smash that number.
According to Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, which tracks gun sales and background check information, those background checks ended up with over 2.3 million more guns legally in the hands of Americans.
SAAF estimated 2,387,524 guns were sold last month, a 145.3 percent increase from June 2019.
“[R]elative to same-month sales in June 2019, firearm sales soared yet again in June 2020,” SAAF chief economist Jurgen Brauer said of the record month.
Gun sales and NICS inquiries began to soar in March, as many Americans were told to lock down due to fears about the spread of the coronavirus.
Violent demonstrations and calls to defund police officers following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department in late May have spread to cities across the country and are likely partially responsible for the continued demand for firearms, Brauer said.
“Once more, demand was particularly strong for handguns. The first week of June saw especially high background check volumes, presumably related to the aftermath of the killing of Mr. George Floyd,” Brauer said.
Mark Oliva, a representative for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, agreed with that assessment.
“Civil unrest, rioting, looting and calls to defund police are unquestionably motivating factors of why this trend is increasing. Americans are right to be concerned for their personal safety,” Oliva told Fox News.
British anti-gun activist and TV host Piers Morgan, who challenged Americans’ rights to own firearms during his short tenure with CNN, said on Twitter that he was distressed by the number of guns being sold in the country.
“BREAKING: Just when you thought the news couldn’t more depressing…8.3 million guns have been sold in the United States since March, meaning 2020 is on course to be the biggest year for gun sales in American history,” Morgan tweeted.
BREAKING: Just when you thought the news couldn’t more depressing…8.3 million guns have been sold in the United States since March, meaning 2020 is on course to be the biggest year for gun sales in American history.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 1, 2020
The NRA, meanwhile, is celebrating as Americans exercise their constitutional rights.
NEWS: Millions of New Gun Owners After Record-Breaking June
Americans bought 2.3M guns during June, up 145% since June 2019. Many retailers report that their inventory is drained.
Since March, 8.3M guns have been sold – a pace likely to make 2020 the highest year in history.
— NRA (@NRA) July 1, 2020
“Americans bought 2.3M guns during June, up 145% since June 2019. Many retailers report that their inventory is drained. Since March, 8.3M guns have been sold – a pace likely to make 2020 the highest year in history,” the NRA wrote on Twitter.
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