Amid 2020's 'perfect storm' of racial tensions, lockdowns, and a record spike in unemployment which coincided with a national crime wave, people have been stocking up on firearms like never before.
According to monthly FBI data, November was the busiest month on record for background checks with over 3.6 million applications - a figure which is up 40% from the prior November, putting the country at an all-time high of 35,758,249 checks so far this year - and 26% higher than 2019's 28,400,000 checks.
The increase over 2019 marks the highest percentage increase in the 21-year history of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) (when one excludes data from the year 2,000 when the system was fully implemented and produced a synthetic 1,000% increase).
Still, November's 3.6 million checks only places it fourth in 2020, as June saw a record 3,931,607 checks amid widespread rioting and violence amid BLM anti-police protests which began in late May following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of Minneapolic police.
As Just The News notes:
That number is certain to grow even larger: The present total of checks in 2020 does not include December's numbers. Historical data indicate that December's checks tend to be elevated relative to the rest of the year.
Though each individual background check does not necessarily represent an individual buyer (many gun-buyers will purchase several guns in a year, while many others will fail their background check), the gun industry has reported significant first-time customer activity this year.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported in June that gun retailers estimated 40% of their sales during the first four months of the year went to first-time gun owners, and that nearly half of those first-time buyers were women, both notable upticks.
"Gun sales have been high and steady this entire year, even during the [COVID-19] shutdown," said Peyton Galanti, spokeswoman for the Colonial Shooting Academy in Richmond, VA, who added that the market had been driven by "first-time gun buyers" and "people who never thought they'd own a gun" (also known as Democrats).
"Our classes have been sold out months ahead and, until about this week, range time has also been way up all year," Galanti added.
Meanwhile, the record gun sales coincided with a massive ammunition shortage.
"Getting guns, getting optics, getting ammo is tough right now," said Tim Grover, firearms instructor with Jackson, Nebraska-based Rev-Tac.
Jake Schira, owner of Gunsmith Jake LLC in Rothschild,WI says "I get like 20 to 40 calls a day pertaining to people looking to buy ammunition or searching for it." Another nearby gun store owner, Mitch Mode, told WAOW: "We are into gun deer season, where we should have ammo for everybody, but we have ammo for nobody."