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U.S. gun background checks shattered one-month record in March

Red-hot gun buying craze shows little signs of slowing down

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Handguns for sale
Handguns for sale
(Anadolu Agency/Getty)
Updated: April 3, 2021 - 6:53pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The rate of gun background checks in the United States—a rough correlator to how many guns are being sold here—shattered records in March, breaking four million checks for the second time in history and blowing past the earlier one-month record set in January.

The FBI performed nearly 4.7 million background checks for guns last month, almost 400,000 more than the earlier record set in January. 

January and March are the only time in the history of the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System that gun checks have broken four million. Prior to that, the highest number of checks was in December of last year at 3.9 million. 

Gun checks soared to new heights over 2020 as a whole, driven by mass civil unrest, pandemic fears, and subsequently by the election of Democratic President Joe Biden in November. Biden has signalled his intent to enact significant gun control measures while in the White House. 

The FBI ran nearly 40 million background checks total last year. In the first three months of 2021, meanwhile, the bureau has processed about 12.5 million checks.

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