Don’t think that gun shops are essential? There are as many as 3,740,688 Americans who would disagree with you. That’s how many background checks the FBI NICS Office ran last month.
That’s the most ever, surpassing the previous record by 426,094, and is a million more checks than the previous record for the month of March. Tellingly, it is the third consecutive record-setting month and the third consecutive month with an increase.
The week of March 16th to 22nd set the record for most background checks in a week with 1,197,788 – surpassing the previous record by 244,175.
Friday, March 20th, is now the single-day record for background checks with 210,308 checks. Of the Top 10 Highest Days for NICS, five were in March 2020.
Anti-gun activists, power-hungry politicians, and radically out-of-touch editorial boards frame this as some sort of panic driven by propaganda. This isn’t fearmongering; this is reality.
Inmates are being released from jails and prisons as COVID-19 spreads. In New York, more than 1,400 police officers tested positive for the virus. Officers in California, in Michigan, and in other states have tested positive or have been quarantined due to possible exposure. There are fears that certain goods may not be restocked at local stores, that the supply chain can’t keep up with demand. The virus is taxing resources, and the American people see this.
People are sewing masks to give doctors, nurses, and first responders some amount of protection when the most protective masks are in short supply. Neighbors are picking up groceries for especially vulnerable members of their communities who can’t get groceries themselves. Teachers are adapting on the fly to continue their students’ education despite stay-at-home and social distancing measures.
And Americans are buying firearms to make sure that they have a means to protect themselves and their loved ones in a worst-case-scenario. What the gun-control crowd refuses to accept is that these are legal firearms purchases. The people standing in line outside gun shops are not orderly criminals waiting to fill out the necessary paperwork and undergo a background check; they’re law-abiding Americans exercising their Constitutional rights.
The number of NICS background checks is not a perfect proxy for gun sales. The FBI does provide a useful breakdown of the NICS check by type. Last month, there were 1,392,677 checks related to the sale of a handgun. Another 758,073 checks were related to long guns, like ARs, rifles, and shotguns; 79,129 checks fell into the “other” category, and there were 57,328 checks related to the purchase of multiple firearms.
In all of this, the outlier is the anti-gun crowd. Some in their midst see this as an opportunity to advance further restrictions and/or to condition Americans to the idea that the 2nd Amendment is a second-class right.
The NRA is working to ensure that no American loses access to their rights. Lawsuits have been filed in California and New York to ensure that gun shops have the ability to remain open if they choose.
We won’t let our responsibility to the Constitution and to the American people wane in these uncertain times. We’re tracking actions state and local governments may take and are providing that information on a dedicated webpage.
The NRA makes the importance of the 2nd Amendment absolutely clear. The evidence is in the millions of Americans who choose to purchase a firearm to protect themselves.
That isn’t fearmongering. That’s reality.