A month which saw multiple mass shootings — including high-profile murders in Georgia and Colorado — also featured a record number of FBI-conducted background checks for firearm purchases, complicating the narrative at a time Democrats are trying to push new gun control legislation.
Background checks in March were up 36% from February, as around 4.7 million were initiated, FBI data shows, according to CNN.
The number of checks do not equal the number of guns purchased, but they do tend to correlate with the volume of sales. Gun sales have historically trended higher as safety fears gripped America or when citizens anticipated upcoming gun control measures.
Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado, shootings left more than a dozen people dead and coincided with a pair of Democrat-sponsored gun-control bills passing the House. Also, COVID-19 impact payments went out to more than 125 million Americans, giving extra spending money to facilitate some of the gun purchases, CNN reported.
One House Democrat bill expands background checks to all gun sales and transfers, which is expected to face Republican opposition in the Senate, which is split 50-50 and still has a legislative filibuster that would require at least 10 GOP votes to reach the 60-vote threshold needed for passage.
President Joe Biden came forward publicly to support new gun-control legislation after the March 22 grocery store shooting in Boulder that killed 10, including a police officer.
Republicans note violent criminals, particularly mass shooters, do not typically abide by laws, so adding new gun laws do nothing except restrict law-abiding Americans.
Gun sales had slowed in February after a January surge. March and January of this year are the only two months in which background checks exceeded 4 million, according to the report.
The COVID-19 pandemic, race riots, and the impending turnover from former President Donald Trump’s administration — which was a strong backer of the Second Amendment — made 2020 a record year for gun purchases, according to CNN.
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