The FBI reported that 3,931,607 background checks were conducted through the National Instant Background Check System in June, the highest number since the bureau began to track the statistic 14 years ago.
The increase was particularly steep in handgun sales, which surged more than 177 percent year-over-year to more than 1.51 million units. Long gun sales jumped by more than 114 percent, with 690,212 units sold in June.
“Relative to same-month sales in June 2019, firearms sales soared yet again in June 2020. Once more, demand was particularly strong for handguns. The first week of June saw especially high background check volumes, presumably related to the aftermath of the killing of Mr. George Floyd,” said Jurgen Brauer, chief economist at Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (SAAF).
The sales boom continued through June amid nationwide protests and riots in the wake of Floyd’s death, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, increased safety concerns for many. In addition, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is running on a strict gun control platform, which also may be driving some purchases among buyers wary of a Democratic triumph in November.
Buds Gun Shop, a major online gun retailer, advised its customers recently that shipments may be significantly delayed because of increased order volume.
“Our sales were within just a few thousand dollars of doubling in June 2020, as compared to 2019,” said Rex McClanahan, the owner of Buds. “Popular guns and ammo SKU’s have been sold out for some time and now, it is becoming a challenge to keep anything in stock that is among the higher-demand categories.”