Firearm background checks reached record levels in June and gun sales soared in the wake of sustained pandemic fears and the outbreak of violence across the country since the death of George Floyd in May.
The FBI reported that it performed a record number of over 3.9 million gun background checks for Americans in the month of June. That total outpaced the prior record set in March of 3.7 million background checks.
At the same time, an estimated 2,387,524 firearms were sold in June according to Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, a small arms and ammunition market research firm. That number reflects an increase of over 145% over the same period last year.
Gun sales in Minnesota have risen as fears about COVID-19 have increased, according to a recent report. A south metro gun shop said they saw a spike in sales at the end of March and that sales continued above their norm for April and May.
John McConkey, owner of The Modern Sportsman in Burnsville, said “As soon as we put out ammunition and new guns, they are gone.” He said their inventory can’t keep up with demand and that they’re seeing “many, many” first-time gun buyers.
McConkey said he’s seen other surges in sales and they’re always connected to political uncertainty. This time, he says, people are scared; they want to protect themselves and their families.
Compiled on top of concerns about the impact the virus may have on society and the economy has been the outbreak of violent riots and destruction across the country following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody in late May.
Criticism of the state and local response to the violence in Minnesota was immediate, and people indicated that they felt abandoned by those who were supposed to be reassuring them and ensuring their safety.
Minneapolis is burning and the police have abandoned their own stations.
Still think the government will help you if you’re in trouble?
You’re a fool if you’re unarmed.
— Eric Matheny🎙 (@EricMMatheny) May 29, 2020
I just don’t think @MayorFrey understands how desperately people who are home right now watching want to hear about ACTION. Not a lecture on caring about the cmty. The people rioting ARE NOT LISTENING TO THIS. You are preaching to the choir.
— Julie Nelson (@JulieNelsonKARE) May 30, 2020
Gov. Tim Walz staff not responding to requests for information tonight. Last public appearance was 2 p.m. Wednesday. His public schedule for Friday released at 10:27 p.m shows one public appearance scheduled at 5 p.m. I expect this to change as outrage grows and Twin Cities burn. pic.twitter.com/Az2EV5SHao
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) May 29, 2020
Mark Olivia, a spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told NPR news last week that “Civil unrest, rioting, looting and calls to defund police are unquestionably motivating factors of why this trend [of gun sales] is increasing.”
“Americans are right to be concerned for their personal safety,” Olivia said. “It’s entirely reasonable that law-abiding citizens are exercising their Constitutional right to purchase a firearm to protect themselves.”