It's not surprising that gun sales are still growing strong. Here's what you need to know about the continuing gun sales surge in the U.S.
Why Is There Still a Gun Sales Surge?
Just when we thought Americans had been given every reason to exercise their 2nd Amendment right – an election year, a pandemic, record unemployment – George Floyd died while in police custody on Memorial Day.
Floyd’s death, captured on video, sparked protests and rioting across the U.S. This brought civil unrest to both large cities and suburbs.
In response, Americans flocked to their local gun stores.
The FBI recorded a record 3.9 million background checks for gun sales in June. There's a 70% increase from the same month last year.
The increase comes amid cries to “defund the police.” Democratic mayors across the country pledge to decrease police budgets in an effort to curb police brutality.
Earlier in the year, as the Coronavirus pandemic spread quickly.
Police forces across the nation had announced that they would no longer be responding to non-violent calls, reserving response for life-threatening calls.
Police officers’ close contact with the public makes them much more likely to contract the virus.
How do Background Checks Translate to Guns In-Hand?
FBI background checks have shown a significant increase each month in 2020, over the same months in 2019.
More than 19 million background checks have been conducted halfway through 2020, which is more than 2012 and each year prior to that.
The FBI is on pace to process roughly 70% more background checks in 2020 than they did in 2019.
The previous highest year of background checks with over 28 million.
But each background check does not represent a sale of a firearm.
According to trade group Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, gun sales in June are up 145%, which translates to an estimated 2.4 million firearms.
This does not account for person-to-person private sales, which do not require background checks in many states.
Gun stores across the country are reporting having difficulty keeping inventory on the shelves.
Every type of weapon is being purchased – shotguns, rifles, handguns, and especially ammunition.
States Unable to Keep Up With Demand
Illinois is among the states unable to keep up with the demand for their Firearms Owner ID Cards, which require a state-mandated background check.
The firearms services bureau of the Illinois State Police is responsible for issuing firearm owner’s identification cards and concealed carry licenses.
They are also responsible for conducting background checks for licensed gun dealers when a sale is made.
The bureau has reported a 500% increase in applications.
Illinois has reportedly added staff and also extended current FOID cards and concealed carry licenses for a year.
Yet, the average time for a background check is still 94 hours, not the 72 that was promised.
The wait for a FOID card is even longer, and many Illinois residents report waiting several months to be able to purchase a firearm.
Some first-time applicants have been waiting since March for approval to exercise their 2nd Amendment right.
Record-Setting Sales Despite Increased Interest in Gun Control
These record-setting background checks and gun sales come even as much of the country has expressed an interest in increased gun control measures.
Restrictive legislation has recently been passed in states like Virginia and has even been introduced at the federal level.
With first-time gun buyers making up as much as 40% of background check applicants, it seems that complacency and an over-reliance on police were key factors in gun control advocacy.
When push comes to shove, Americans still choose to protect their families with guns.
What are your thoughts on the continuing gun sales surge? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section!