Americans concerned about “looming gun control legislation and rising crime” are buying more guns, according to a report from WENY News, and the state showing the most activity is Illinois.
According to Mark Oliva, public affairs director for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, “NSSF’s Adjusted National Instant Criminal Background of nearly 1.7 million background checks in April was the strongest April on record and is on pace with the background checks that we’ve seen for more than a year.”
Oliva said NICS checks for firearm sales “were nearly one percent higher than April 2020.”
“Americans are buying firearms for concerns for personal safety and for White House and Congressional efforts to limit and deny the ability to purchase certain firearms,” he noted. “The continued gun control statements by President Biden, many of which have been fact-checked and debunked as false, are driving sales.”
The situation is not helped by alarmist media reports, either. The Economist reported over the weekend, in a story headlined “Many states are pushing through more permissive gun laws,” appears to lament the fact that “Across the country, states are trying to make it easier for people to carry their guns with them in public without applying for a permit, being subject to a background check or going through training.”
But WENY’s report suggests the most alarm is in Illinois. This is the same state in which a judge last week declared the requirement to have an FOID card to keep a gun in the home is unconstitutional. The ruling was quickly appealed to the Illinois state Supreme Court, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The case puts Illinois justices in the potentially prickly position of having to determine whether the FOID card—a requirement since 1968—violates the Second Amendment. If so, Prairie State authorities will have more than 50 years of enforcement of an unconstitutional law to answer for.
“No state has seen more gun sales this year than Illinois,” WENY noted. “Federal authorities there have completed nearly 4.3 million gun background checks since January, including more than 955,000 submitted last month. That’s more background checks than the next five states combined.”
NSSF’s Oliva noted April “marked 13 months of elevated firearm sales, which have ranged between 1.5 million and 2 million each month. Firearm sales spiked in March 2020 and have remained at unprecedented levels since. It’s a remarkable feat of firearm manufacturers to keep pace with this blistering demand.”
And what about the states adopting so-called “constitutional carry” laws requiring no permit to carry a loaded firearm in public for personal protection? The spotlight is on their crime and accident rates, to see whether either number goes up or down this year. The answer will not be available until 2022.