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Americans bought guns in record numbers in 2020 during a year of unrest — and the surge is continuing

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Industry data and gun history show that nearly 23 million weapons were purchased in 2020, according to Small Arms Analytics, a consultancy based in Greenville, South Carolina.

This is an increase of 65% compared to 2019, when 13.9 million weapons were sold, according to Small Arms Analytics.

Because there is no national gun registry, firearms industry publications and background checks are the best sources to measure sales.

FBI background checks on gun buyers increased year-round, but the biggest jumps (March, June, July, and December) overlapped with periods of political and social unrest. Background checks are not directly related to the number of weapons sold.

In March, the FBI conducted more than 3.7 million background checks – a month that overlapped with the start of pandemic closures. That is, more than a million additional background checks than those conducted in March 2019.
During the riots after the murder of the police George Floyd, background checks have increased again: to 3.9 million in June and 3.6 million in July. This compares with 2.3 million background checks in June 2019 and 2 million in July 2019.
And political uncertainty after the presidential election overlapped with one jump to gun background checks in November, 3.6 million, and in December, 3.9 million. This compares with 2.6 million in November 2019 and 2.9 million in December 2019.
He the jump in arms sales also continued in 2021. In January, as riots stormed the U.S. Capitol and a new administration took office, the FBI was inundated with 4.3 million requests for background checks, more than 2.7 million applications last January. These controls are initiated by arms dealers.

Background verification requests slowed to 3.4 million in February, but are still up 23% from February 2020.

There were also notable impacts at the state level:

– A record number of Georgia residents obtained a firearms record in 2020:

904,035, almost 68% over the previous year.

–In Michigan, January background checks increased 155% from the previous January.

–New Jersey experienced a 240% increase between January and January.

Ken Baye, owner of Stoddard’s Range and Guns in Atlanta, said he saw a different customer these days: new shooters.

“We seem to live in chaos”

In gun shops and gun barrels, the business is booming.

Syanta Arzu, a 38-year-old Atlanta resident, wanted to buy a Glock pistol. But the store was completely sold out, so he moved into a Smith & Wesson.

The single mother of three young children says she has so far not felt the need for a gun.

“We seem to live in chaos and that gives me some kind of control over that chaos,” Arzu said.

Once Arzu got hers, her friend convinced herself to buy one. And another friend who accompanied Arzu to the gun store picked up his new gun last week.

“So we invite you, arms industry,” Arzu said.

Ken Baye, owner of Stoddard’s Range and Guns in Atlanta, said he saw a different type of customer these days: new shooters.

“We see a lot of women coming in, a lot of couples, people with kids,” she said. “We’re really seeing virtually every area of ​​life.”

Arms sales in January set a new record after the Capitol Hill uprising
Philip Smith, founder of National African American Gun Association (NAAGA) says many of those who buy guns today are people who five years ago would never have imagined they would own a firearm. He says Covid-19 changed the game.

“This was something people had, regardless of color, regardless of your social background, your economic situation, you said to yourself,‘ Okay if we don’t have food next week, what are we going to do to protect ourselves? and our families? ‘”

NAAGA is experiencing steady growth of between 800 and 1,000 new members a month, Smith said.

Industry data and a gun history show that nearly 23 million weapons were purchased by 2020, according to Small Arms Analytics, a consulting firm based in Greenville, South Carolina.

Other recent arms sales are on the rise

It’s not uncommon for gun sales to increase when a Democrat wins the White House. He choice i re-election of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 were followed by gun sales rises.
The previous record of 15.7 million weapons sold in a calendar year was set in 2016, when many gun enthusiasts were afraid of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the White House.
Dabney Evans is concerned about figures of another kind: homicides, suicides and injuries. She says she is an associate professor of global health at Emory University studies show that more guns mean more dead and wounded that result.

“If we look at the global picture, we know that we have much higher gun ownership rates in the United States than in other countries, and we also know that we have even higher rates of violence and involuntary injuries due to gun ownership.” . Evans said.

Evans says that if people want to arm themselves, currently the best way would be to wear a mask, wash their hands and get a vaccine.

Arzu already follows these tips, but he still feels better with a gun in his house, which he keeps locked in a safe.

“It’s like a safety blanket,” he said.

CNN’s Chauncey Alcorn contributed to this report.

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