CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Gun sales are reaching record highs during the pandemic and retailers say they’re struggling to keep up with demand.
November and December are typically the busiest months for gun sales but data from the FBI shows firearm sale figures are reaching their highest levels ever. The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows a 41% increase in activity during the first nine months of this year, compared to the same period in 2019, which was a record year.
Gun shop owners say the spike in sales is unlike anything they’ve ever seen and experts say the coronavirus pandemic was just one of the several factors that pushed Americans to buy guns.
NewsNation spoke to Phil Andrew, founder of the PAX Group and a former FBI agent, to discuss the recent trend.
Andrew said that 2020 being an election was a factor in the increase.
“Every election, partially presidential election years, we see a surge in gun buying, largely due to industry messaging around the potential for regulation,” said Andrew. “In truth that hasn’t happened. In really the last 16 years every time we’ve had a turnover in administration, it hasn’t resulted in any gun confiscations or any really serious change in regulations.”
Andrew said he thinks the pandemic, civil unrest, and election-year created social anxiety for some people accounting for some new first-time owners.
“A year ago we were looking a seasonal surge but overall lower gun sales due to the fact there are already so many guns out there,” said Andrew. “It was mostly folks who owned five to seven guns who were buying another gun. This year, we see the trend that there are more new gun buyers.”
You can watch the full interview in the player above.