The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which has been used as a gauge to track sales of firearms since it was adopted in 1998, saw a 40 percent increase from the previous year.
U.S. Gun Sales: A Historic Spike
In total there were more than 21 million background checks conducted last year, compared to just over 13 million in 2019, and while there has been a steady increase yearly of around 8 percent, 2020 saw that significant jump. According to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), while December saw a 24 percent increase in year-over-year sales, just after the election in November sales jumped by 49 percent from the prior year.
Now it appears that 2021 is off to a strong start, and the NSSF reported that January saw a year-over-year increase of 75.2 percent, and the FBI processed more than 4.3 million background checks – a 60 percent increase over January 2020.
Could the Numbers Be Even Bigger?
Some industry analysts, including those at Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, estimated the sales in January were even higher and hit 2.2 million guns, a year-over-year increase of 79 percent.