Utah gun sales broke all records in 2020. Here’s why.

Utah gun sales broke all records in 2020. Here’s why.

Editor’s note: This story is available to Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting important local journalism. Gun sales soared to record heights last year in Utah, with gun owners and sellers citing the pandemic and an intense political climate as driving factors. Criminal background checks required for firearm purchases nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020, topping 180,000, according to data from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification’s (BCI) Firearm Statistical Review .It was the highest in a decade and, probably, the most ever in a single year. This data aligns with anecdotal evidence from Utah Gun Exchange, a website where Utah residents can advertise firearms for sale and get in contact with potential buyers. Utah Gun Exchange CEO Sam Robinson said website traffic doubled in March of 2020 — the same month Utah began issuing pandemic-related restrictions — and is now triple what it was in 2019. Dave Larsen, manager at Doug’s Shoot’n Sports in Taylorsville, said his store made the most sales since he began working there in 1984. “It was kind of the perfect storm,” he said of 2020, pointing to the pandemic, the summer protests over the killing of George Floyd, the earthquake and the election of a Democratic president who favors gun control. “Turns out emergencies are pretty good for business,” Larsen noted. National figures also show gun sales at records highs, with USA Today reporting 39.7 million sales last year, a 40% increase, based on background checks. FBI data shows that 1.2 million […]

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