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Record Gun Sales

August 2016 saw the highest number of FBI background checks for gun purchases for any August on record since the FBI started tracking this information in 1998.  The FBI conducted 1,853,815 background checks, an increase of 6% from August 2015.  This past August wasn’t the only banner month of 2016, every month of 2016 has posted a record for that particular month.   If the trend continues then 2016 will be the biggest year in gun sales history.  Surprisingly, the top two states for gun sales in 2016 were Illinois and California (not surprisingly Texas was third).  Not states typically thought of when one thinks about gun purchases.  So what’s driving this increased demand in these two notoriously anti-gun states?

Illinois, Chicago specifically, set its own record in August; the deadliest month in the last 20 years.  There were 90 people killed and 472 shooting victims in Chicago in August.  That’s an average of more than 15 people per day.    Some will argue that the increase in gun sales is the reason for the record number of shootings in Chicago but police site gang violence and illegal guns as the reason.  Gang members don’t go through background checks when they acquire guns.  They either steal them or buy them from other gang members.  The increase in gun purchases by law abiding people is more likely due to people trying to protect themselves from the violent gangs.

The increase in gun purchases in California can be attributed to the push for more restrictive gun laws leading to people rushing to buy the very guns that California law makers seek to restrict.  For example, California is set to ban guns that use bullet buttons to change magazines so sales in these firearms are skyrocketing, similar to the massive increase in sales of ARs when the federal government was debating about reinstating the “Assault weapons ban”.  The so called “bullet button” is a magazine release button that is recessed such that a tool or the point of a bullet is required to release the magazine.

One thing is evident from this data, there are still millions of Americans that aren’t ready to give up their guns.

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