The FBI’s National Instant Check System (NICS) reported a record 3.7 million background checks in March, fueling speculation that the COVID-19 pandemic had been the catalyst for a public rush to gun stores, and the Washington Times says gun sales last month were up 85 percent over March 2019.
That assessment was based on an analysis by Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, according to the newspaper. As noted by the FBI, background check raw numbers do not translate to actual sales of firearms.
But could gun sales have been even higher, had no governors announced emergency “shelter-in-place” orders that closed—albeit temporarily in most cases—gun stores because they were not considered “essential?” And what was the impact on sales because of slowdowns in background checks by law enforcement in some jurisdictions?
BULLETIN: The Democratic National Convention has been postponed one month, to begin Aug. 17 in Milwaukee, Wis., according to breaking news reports.
The Democratic National Committee has cited concerns over the Coronavirus outbreak, and whether it will be lingering into the summer months.
According to Axios, “the sudden change in plans reflects the severity of this public health crisis.”
The convention had originally been scheduled July 13-16 but the re-scheduling puts it just one week ahead of the Republican National Convention, Aug. 24-27
Democrats are expected to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden to challenge President Donald Trump in November. The party platform will likely once again include a gun control plank.
A check on the FBI’s monthly report reveals there were 3,740,688 background checks, the highest number ever, even eclipsing the 3,314,594 NICS checks done in December 2015.
Alarming to gun prohibition lobbying groups is the likelihood that many of the people buying firearms did it for the first time.
The Guardian, quoting Mark Oliva, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, reported lots of first-time buying last month, apparently in reaction to the Coronavirus panic. One widely-circulated photograph shows people lined up outside of a California gun store at mid-month.
“Retailers have been telling us that the overwhelming majority of those buying firearms over the last month have been first-time gun owners,” Oliva reported said in an email to the Guardian.
This has raised alarms from anti-gun-rights organizations, expressing concerns about the potential for firearms accidents. Other groups have been busy blasting emails across the Internet. One group complained about the National Rifle Association engaging in “reckless fear-mongering.” Another gun control group seemed to be engaging in the same kind of fear-mongering, writing in its email, “reports from across the country show that people, including many first-time buyers, are stockpiling guns and ammunition.”
“A flood of guns at this precarious moment compounds the risks of death and serious injury during this incredibly stressful time,” said anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.