CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Across the United States, in all but two states, background checks for firearm purchases are way up in 2020.
Every state except Washington and Indiana saw an increase this year compared to the same period in 2019. The NewsNation research team dug into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and compared statistics for background checks done in June 2019 to checks done in June 2020.
While a one-to-one correlation cannot be drawn between background checks and gun sales, it is an indicator that points to interest in the purchase of legal guns.
The five states with the biggest increases in background checks, June 2019 compared to June 2020: Michigan is up approximately 242%; Alabama is up 226%; Arizona is up 176%; Mississippi up 167%; and Maryland is up 163%.
One gun store owner in Michigan believes calls for defuding the police may be fueling gun sales.
“More women than men are buying guns rights now. They are to the point right now where they’re telling their husbands, ‘We need to go buy a gun. We need to protect our family, we need to protect our home,’” said National Shooting Sports Retailers of Michigan President Glenn Duncan.
Some gun reform advocates worry the increase in sales could lead to more accidental deaths.
“There’s no evidence that suggests that more guns makes us safer. In fact, there’s evidence that — and absolutely research informs us — that more guns causes more gun fatalities. Whether that’s by homicide or suicide or accidental discharge,” said ‘Sandy Hook Promise’ Managing Director Mark Barden.