Continued Surge in Gun Sales Increases Risk of Gun-Related Domestic Violence, Daily Gun Violence, Unintentional Shootings, and Gun Suicide
When Americans Learn About Surge of Gun Sales, Their Support for Gun Safety Laws Surges
NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, a part of Everytown, responded to new data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which found that 3.9 million background checks were conducted in June 2020––71 percent more than in June 2019. That translates to an estimated 2.3 million guns sold, an increase of 149 percent over last year.
This increase is a part of a sustained surge in gun sales during the pandemic, which has increased the likelihood of gun-related domestic violence, daily gun violence, unintentional gun violence, and gun suicide across America.
“Polls show that the ongoing surge in American gun sales is being met with a surge in the number of Americans who want stronger gun laws,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “If lawmakers are serious about public safety, they will take immediate action to ensure that a background check is completed before every single gun sale, even if that takes longer than the current federal limit of just three days.”
“This surge in gun sales couldn’t come at a worse time, with hospitals at capacity and the threat of gun violence on the rise,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “The risks are higher than ever for millions of kids living with unsecured guns, women sheltering in place with abusers, and anyone who is struggling psychologically. Policymakers have the tools to address America’s gun violence crisis––it’s past time they used them.”
“Gun sales have been surging since the pandemic, so it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for this month’s sales,” said Rob Wilcox, deputy director of policy and strategy at Everytown. “But it is clear that gun companies are fear mongering about protests to sell guns, which is dangerous and wrong at a time when the threat of gun violence is on the rise, hospitals are overflowing with patients, and we’ve already seen multiple incidents of armed extremists shooting protestors.”
How surging gun sales are making Americans care more about gun safety: As gun sales have surged, so has Americans’ support for common-sense gun safety measures. New polling found that the vast majority of Americans believe gun safety measures are even “more important” now due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that––when participants were informed of the spike in gun sales––they viewed these policies as even more important. Specifically, after being informed of the increase in gun sales, 70 percent of those surveyed said that requiring background checks on all gun sales was “more important” now than before the pandemic, and 72 percent of those surveyed said legislation to disarm domestic abusers was “more important” now than before the pandemic.
Heightened risk of gun suicide: Data from the Great Depression and the Great Recession suggest the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis could bring a 20 to 30 percent increase in firearm suicides in the U.S. this year, resulting in 20 additional gun suicides per day in 2020, according to a new analysis from Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, an arm of Everytown for Gun Safety.
Impact of surging gun sales on the Charleston Loophole: The NRA-backed “Charleson loophole” is a gap in federal law––named after the loophole the Charleston Mother Emanuel Church Shooter used to acquire his gun––that allows a gun sale to proceed without a completed background check if, after three business days, the check has not been completed. The loophole has likely become deadlier during the pandemic, due to a surge in gun sales that has overwhelmed our background check system and made it likelier than ever that background checks will take longer than three business days. June 17th marked 5 years since the shooting at Mother Emanuel Church.