While 2019 may be known in history as the year President Donald Trump was impeached, it also was the year that more firearms were purchased in the United States than at any other time in history.
The Washington Times reported that 28.3 million checks were run on the FBI’s National Instant Check System last year. That included over 2.9 million in December, the month House Democrats voted to impeach the president on a party-line vote.
According to FBI data on NICS checks, the previous record for a year was 27.5 million in 2016.
That data also notes that the highest monthly total was 3.1 million in December 2015.
The sale of firearms is continuing, with 2.7 million NICS checks being run last month.
Compared with the 2.2 million checks that were run in January 2019, that is an increase of more than 530,000.
Why the sudden surge in gun sales from earlier in the Trump administration?
Did the Democrats’ push to impeach the president boost firearms sales?
While it cannot be ruled out, there are other events that seem more likely to be behind the surge in sales.
One major reason is the fact the U.S. House of Representatives was controlled by anti-Second Amendment Democrats, who passed a number of gun control measures.
Another is the fact that virtually every major Democratic candidate proposed sweeping new gun restrictions.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke also announced his support for such a measure after a mass shooting in El Paso that left 22 people dead.
O’Rourke was famously defiant about his proposed ban, saying, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Two other candidates who, like Swalwell and O’Rourke, have since dropped out — former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — also proposed extensive restrictions, such as a federal licensing system for gun ownership.
Even those who didn’t go that far, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, have pushed for various restrictions aimed at the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
So, while impeachment may have played a small role, it is much more likely that gun control proposals from Democrats in Congress and those running for president motivated 2019’s record-breaking run on guns.
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