BREAKING: Background Checks During Coronavirus Increase Again Over 2019May 4, 2020
Sales-related background checks surge 71 percent over 2019; Meanwhile, incidents of gun violence, domestic violence, and suicides are also increasing
WASHINGTON — Guns Down America, a bolder, broader movement calling for dramatically fewer guns in America released the following statement after new data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System showed that the bureau conducted 2.9 million checks in April, an increase of 25 percent as compared to the same time last year. (In April of 2019, the FBI conducted 2,334,249 background checks.) April is the fourth straight month of significant increases in firearm background checks in 2020. In March of 2020, as governors across the nation locked down their states to address the coronavirus outbreak, the FBI conducted 3.7 million screenings, the highest number recorded since its inception in 1998.
Looking solely at sales-related background checks, the FBI conducted 931,494 such checks in April of 2019 and 1,596,519 such checks in April of 2020, resulting in a 71% increase.
“No matter what the NRA says, they cannot change the truth that more guns lead to more gun violence in our country,” said Igor Volsky, co-founder and Executive Director of Guns Down America. “Another month of increased background checks means that countless Americans are bringing into their homes something even more dangerous than coronavirus — a gun.”
While individuals defend themselves with a gun in less than 1 percent of crimes in which there is contact between assailant and victim, access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide and doubles the risk of homicide. According to Giffords Law Center, Of the estimated 36,383 Americans killed with guns each year, 22,274 are gun suicides (61%), 12,830 are gun homicides (35%), 496 are law enforcement shootings (1.4%), and 487 are unintentional shootings (1.3%).
As gun sales have surged, so has gun violence. 48 states or 154 cities or counties around the country are reporting increases in calls to police or domestic violence hotlines. Check out our tracker here. It is updated every weekday morning.
Individual cities are also reporting increases in gun violence during this period:
- In Cincinnati, homicides are more than doubling what they were in 2019
- In Louisville, shootings are up 82 percent from 2019.
- The week after its stay-at-home order took effect, Philadelphia saw 40 shooting incidents, about twice what it typically sees
- Jacksonville, FL experienced 17 homicides in March, the deadliest March in 15 years.
Last month, Americans bought about two million guns, marking the second-busiest month ever for gun sales. Panic-buying of firearms in response to coronavirus led to the sale of over 1,000,000 more firearms than are normally sold in March.
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Guns Down America is a bolder, broader movement calling for dramatically fewer guns in America, and for making them dramatically harder to get.