FBI background checks (a prerequisite for most gun purchases in the US) surged in June to an all-time high for the early summer. The Bureau reports that over 2.1 million checks were performed on people seeking to purchase guns last month; up from 1.5 million from the same time in 2015. This month’s record is the latest in a long line of monthly record breaking sales stretching back 14 months to May of 2015. At it’s current pace, 2016 will achieve the highest estimated number of guns sold in America, annually, since the tracking system was first put into place in 1998.
These record breaking sales come in the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack and the subsequent efforts by Democrats in Congress to push for additional gun control legislation. This is not a new phenomenon. In early 2016, The New York Times asked the question, “What happens after calls for new gun restrictions?” and found the answer to be: “Sales go up.” The following chart demonstrates how such events have caused large spikes in the volume of background checks and gun sales in the immediate aftermath.
Scott Blick, managing partner at Ammunition Depot (an online wholesaler of Guns and Ammunition), commented on their sales to the Washington Free Beacon in June:
“Yes, we have seen a dramatic spike in sales volume (around five times normal levels) especially in the .223/5.56 caliber and to a lesser extent 9mm, .45 ACP, and .308 but the increase is definitely across the board.”
Gun rights advocates have attributed the increased sales to Democratic party leaders’ (President Obama, Secretary Clinton, etc) efforts to impose stricter laws limiting the type of guns which can be purchased and the positive comments they’ve made toward Australian style gun control laws (essentially confiscation). The National Rifle Association is one large gun rights advocacy group making these claims. They put together this video in January highlighting the Australian laws and the comments these leaders have made in support of them.