4.7 million gun background checks were run through the FBI’s national instant check system in March, the highest monthly record in the more than 20 years.
The Bureau conducted approximately 4.7 million background checks in March 2021, a record for a single month and a 36 percent increase in background checks from February, CNN reports. The previous record for background checks in a single month came in January.
In mid-March, two mass shootings killed over a dozen in Atlanta and Boulder. Since then, Biden has called for added gun control measures. While the number of checks do not equal the number of guns purchased, they do tend to correlate with the volume of sales. Bloomberg reports two major gun manufacturers saw a gain on the stock market on Thursday, with Sturm Ruger up 2.8 percent and Smith & Wesson up 3.8 percent [Daily Mail].
Gun sales have historically trended higher as safety fears gripped America or when citizens anticipated upcoming gun control measures. Gun sales have already soared amid the pandemic and countrywide Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd. According to Fox Business, over 21 million background checks were conducted in 2020, a rise of 60 percent from 2019. It was also 34 percent higher than 2016, which held the previous record for most background checks in a year. Close to 23 million guns were sold in total in 2020, the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates, including more than 8.4 million people who purchased guns for the first time.
Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns in North Carolina, said he saw a bit of a drop-off in February and part of March after what had been a steady stream of demand over the previous year. “But then they started talking about the gun control bills coming in, and we saw a quick increase,” he said. “And then the government sent all the money to buy the guns, so we’ve had a huge surge for the last two weeks,” he said. “When the stimulus money started hitting and they started talking about making it more difficult to buy a firearm, we definitely saw a big increase in our internet and in-store sales.” Mr. Hyatt also said he is still dealing with supply shortages of ammunition and certain powders and primers [Washington Times].
Recently, the House of Representatives passed two bills aimed at expanding background checks. While both bills passed the House of Representatives, neither has the votes to overcome the filibuster in the Senate without help from at least 10 Republicans. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 is aimed at expanding background checks for sales and transfers across the nation. One Democrat voted against it, while eight Republicans voted for it. The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, meanwhile, was designed to close a loophole that would allow some gun sales to go through before the completion of a background check. Two Democrats voted against it, while two Republicans voted for it.
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POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
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