Even as progressive pundits and politicians are clamoring for new gun control measures, Americans are apparently more interested than ever in obtaining a firearm.
According to reports, the FBI set a record last month for the number of completed background checks for prospective gun buyers.
A series of new records
The Washington Times reported that nearly 4.7 million checks were completed through the bureau’s instant check system in March. That system has been in place for more than two decades and the most recent data reflects the highest monthly total since its inception.
The second-highest monthly number also came this year, the Times noted. In January, the same month gun-control proponent Joe Biden was inaugurated as president, set a record with 4.3 million background checks.
March 2020, which marked the first widespread lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, also set a record at the time with 3.7 million checks.
Gun sales have also reportedly spiked recently. Though last month’s totals reflected nearly 2.2 million guns sold nationwide, one year earlier saw the highest March total on record with about 2.6 million gun sales, the Times said.
The first quarter of this year, however, saw more robust numbers than the first quarter of 2020. Last year, there were about 5.2 million guns sold during the first three months, compared to about 5.9 million during the same period of 2021.
“I don’t need to wait another minute”
If the current pace continues, experts predict this year will break last year’s record, which amounted to a total of 22.8 million guns sold.
Although there is no concrete proof reflecting the cause of the recent surge in background checks, cultural context could provide some insight.
As Democratic presidential hopefuls began advocating for gun control in 2019, gun sales began to tick upward. That trend increased the following year amid a public health crisis and social unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
According to Reuters, following last month’s mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, the president declared: “I don’t need to wait another minute — let alone an hour — to take common-sense steps that will save the lives in the future, and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.”