Handguns, rifles and shotguns are “flying off the shelves” with the primary focus on self-defense, and “nearly 26 million background checks were run through the FBI’s national instant check system through August,” the Washington Times is reporting.
That number will no doubt climb when the September NICS check data is released, possibly eclipsing the record number set in 2019 for the entire year, the newspaper indicated.
In Pennsylvania, a state with more than a million active concealed carry permits, Lancaster Online reported continuing high volume gun sales “fueled by months of civil unrest and protests that followed several high-profile fatal police shootings both locally and across the country.”
And out west in Colorado, the Centennial State is likewise “experiencing a rush to buy guns and ammunition created by concerns over COVID-19 lockdowns and ongoing civil disorder nationwide,” according to Complete Colorado.
Roaring gun sales provide an interesting, perhaps even alarming, backdrop for a nation sharply divided between conservatives and liberals with national elections for president, Congress and state legislatures Nov. 3. Add to that mix the nomination by President Donald Trump of constitutional Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and some might consider it a recipe for national disaster.
The Washington Times quoted Virginia retailer Steve Clark, who declared “They’re buying everything.” He said shotguns are being purchased for home defense, and handgun sales are brisk with a revival in popularity of pistols chambered for .40 S&W. Guns in 9mm and .45 ACP are still hugely popular, and getting ammunition can be challenging.
Down in Texas, the story noted demand for gun safety classes is on the upswing, and in New Jersey, retailer Joe Hawk in Toms River told the newspaper some of his customers were “crestfallen” when they learned guns they wanted were unavailable.
Reacting to the surge, the anti-gun Everytown for Gun Safety suggests “thousands of guns” may have fallen into the wrong hands because the NICS system is overwhelmed.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, the [Justice Department] warned President Trump that the background check system was going to be overwhelmed — but rather than addressing it, Trump added fuel to the fire by making it even easier to buy guns,” Rob Wilcox, deputy director of policy and strategy at Everytown, complained.
Colorado saw steady increases in gun sales starting in January, and in March, there were more than 82,000 sales. That declined a bit with sales averaging 56,000 a month from April through August, according to Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting’s chief economist Jurgen Brauer, the Complete Colorado story noted.