Gun sales exploded in New York amid COVID-19 lockdowns and race riots, as well as efforts from government officials to “defund the police.”
New Yorkers bought more guns in June than any other June in the past decade, data show, the New York Post reported. “The FBI ran 52,252 background checks for people seeking to buy firearms in the state, a 121 percent increase from June 2019. Most, or 31,003 background checks, were for people seeking to buy a rifle. Handguns accounted for 11,585 background checks in June this year.”
Cliff Pfleger, owner of Long Island Gun Source, told the paper he “sold out of almost everything.”
“When the original COVID scare started in the beginning of March and people thought they might get laid off, at that point we saw a huge surge. We sold out of almost everything we had in the store,” he said, noting many first-time gun buyers opt to buy rifles in order to bypass the license needed for handguns.
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“We had lines continuously, even though we didn’t have things to sell,” he said. “The people who are coming to the store — a lot of them were first-time firearm purchasers, and they obviously did not apply or have a handgun license,” Pfleger said.
Those sales might just be going up again soon. Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a lawsuit seeking to disband the National Rifle Association.
“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” James said. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”
Nationwide, gun sales also skyrocketed in July
“Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF) estimates July 2020 U.S. firearms unit sales at 2.0 million units, a year-over-year increase of 134.6% from July 2019,” the group said in a statement. “Likely single handgun sales (1.2 million) increased year-over-year by 152.0% whereas single long-gun sales (0.6 million) increased year-over-year by 108.2%. All other likely background check-related sales (0.16 million) increased year-over-year by 125.3%.”
“[T]he firearms market continues at its far accelerated pace. Our estimates suggest that the market for the first seven months of 2020 now has nearly matched that of the entire year of 2019,” said SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer.
Gun sales were not the only thing to soar. “In July 2020, the FBI conducted more than 3.6 million firearm background checks, making it the third highest month on record for checks since the bureau began keeping statistics in 1998, according to new data released Monday by the bureau. By comparison, the FBI conducted just over 2 million checks in July 2019,” CNN reported.
July’s numbers continue an explosion in gun purchases that has gone on for months, amid lockdowns for COVID-19 and race riots that began after the May 25 death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Gun sales soared in June, with 2,387,524 weapons sold, a year-over-year increase of 145.3% from June 2019, SAAF reported.