Gun sales explode in 2020, experts weigh in on ‘uncertain’ future

Gun sales explode in 2020, experts weigh in on ‘uncertain’ future

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — Gun sales boomed in 2020, with the Federal Bureau of Investigations processing a record 39.7 million firearm background checks, a surge experts say has been driven by the pandemic, protests and the presidential election. Background checks don’t perfectly equal the number of guns sold since they are also used for things like concealed handgun licenses and suppressor sales. You can also buy more than one firearm on a single background check. The numbers can reveal trends in sales, though. Checks tied exclusively to the sale of firearms totaled 21 million, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) , a firearm trade organization. That’s a 60% increase from 2019’s 13.2 firearm-related background checks, and a 34% increase from the previous record (15.7 million) in 2016, the NSSF said. In Oregon, background checks increased more than 50% last year, to just over 418,000, according to Oregon State Police. That’s meant a busy year for gun dealer Steve Riehl, owner of Adaptive Firing Solutions. When KOIN 6 News first spoke with Riehl last spring , he attributed some of the surge in sales to “panic buying” in the face of a global pandemic. “In March you had all the governors start to issue out stay-at home-orders,” NSSF director of public affairs Mark Oliva said. At the same time, police departments limited contact with residents, and jails released inmates early, leading some people to become “concerned for their safety,” Oliva said. The FBI processed the most background […]

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