The FBI conducted a record number of background checks in March, when gun control laws loomed and the US was shaken by two mass shootings.
The agency conducted about 4.7 million background checks in March 2021, a record for one month and a 36 percent increase in background checks from February. CNN Business reports.
Background checks don’t necessarily correlate with gun sales, which are not officially tracked in the United States, but are a good indicator for them.
The news of historic background checks proved to be a further boon to the arms industry.
Bloomberg reports that two major arms manufacturers saw gains in the stock market on Thursday, with Sturm Ruger at 2.8 percent and Smith & Wesson at 3.8 percent.
Background checks hit record highs in March, a month with two mass shootings (stock)
March was only the second month with 4 million background checks, while the other month was January 2021.
Gun sales tend to increase after mass shootings and civil unrest.
Gun sales have already skyrocketed amid the pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter protests following the George Floyd murder.
Proponents of the Second Amendment have also warned of tighter gun controls following the January 6 Capitol riots and the inauguration of Democratic President Joe Biden.
The US was also shocked by two high-profile mass shootings in March.
On March 16, eight people were killed in a series of shootings at spas in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women, leading to allegations that it may have been a hate crime.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, has not yet been charged with a hate crime in connection with the attacks.
Less than a week later, a mass shooting took place at the King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.
That attack, allegedly committed by 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, resulted in 10 deaths.
On March 16, a series of fatal shootings in spas in the Atlanta area killed eight people
Six of those who died in the March 16 attack were Asian women, sparking renewed protests against anti-Asian violence
A shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado left 10 dead, including police officer Eric Talley. Pictured is a memorial to Talley outside Boulder Police Station
Both shootings again called for gun control laws, with President Joe Biden even calling for a ban on assault weapons.
“We can again ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country,” Biden said, encouraging lawmakers to take action. This should not be a partisan issue. It’s an American issue. It will save lives. American lives. We have to act. ‘
Former President Barack Obama released a statement following Biden’s comments, supporting his former VP.
It will take time to eradicate the discontent, racism and misogyny that fuels so many of these senseless acts of violence. But we can make it harder for people with hatred in their hearts to buy weapons of war, ”Obama said in a statement.
“We can overcome opposition from cowardly politicians and the pressure of a gun lobby that opposes any restriction on anyone’s ability to assemble an arsenal,” Obama continued. “We can and we must.”
“A one-time pandemic cannot be the only thing slowing mass shootings in this country,” added the ex-president.
Prior to the shootings, the House of Representatives passed two bills related to gun control laws.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 aims to expand background checks for sales and transfers across the country. One Democrat voted against, while eight Republicans voted for it.
The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, meanwhile, was designed to close a loophole that could allow some gun sales to continue before a background check is completed. Two Democrats voted against it, while two Republicans voted for it.
The loophole was exploited by Dylann Roof when he made a legal purchase of a gun before killing nine in a historically black Charleston church in 2015.
While both bills passed the House of Representatives, neither has the votes to overcome the filibuster in the Senate without the help of at least 10 Republicans.
The record months of background checks come shortly after a record year for gun sales.
According to Fox BusinessMore than 21 million background checks were performed in 2020, an increase of 60 percent from 2019.
It was also 34 percent higher than 2016, the previous record for the most background checks in a year.
In total, nearly 23 million guns were sold in 2020, the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates, including more than 8.4 million first-time gun purchases.
“That is a testament to the determination of the American worker to make our freedoms possible,” said Marc Oliva, a spokesman for the NSSF.
Gun control laws Joe Biden mentioned after the shooting of Boulder
Extensive background checks
Gun control advocates have spent years trying to tighten background checks for those who want to make gun purchases.
A bill passed by the house would require background checks for most gun sales and transfers. Senate majority leader Charles Schumer promised to speak on Tuesday. The Senate “has to face a devastating truth” following a lack of action by Congress on the matter for nearly three decades, Schumer said.
Current law provides exemptions for the sale of private firearms from requirements imposed on licensed arms dealers.
The law passed by the house would close loopholes to ensure that background checks are extended to private and online sales that often go unnoticed, including on firearms shows. The legislation contains limited exceptions that allow the transfer of firearms that include a gift from family, are intended to prevent imminent damage, or are intended for use on a shooting range.
Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia have been working together for years to find a compromise on background checks, but have yet to propose something that will succeed.
President Biden on Tuesday called on the Senate to act on it. “I don’t have to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense measures that will save lives in the future,” Biden said at the White House.
A September 2019 poll by the Pew Research Center found that a large majority of Americans – 88% – supported subjecting private gun sales and sales on firearms shows to background checks, which is what the House bill would do . Ninety-three percent of Democrats and 82% of Republicans were in favor of the policy.
‘Charleston blast hole’
Proponents also want to amend or delete a provision in the law that allows arms purchases to go ahead if three business days have passed since the start of a background check.
The nickname Charleston is a reference to the white supremacist who shot nine black worshipers in Charleston at Mother Emanuel AME Church. A bill passed by the House of Representatives would extend the term to 10 days. The bill is supported by House Majority Whip James C. Clyburn (DS.C.).
Biden called specifically for closing the “loophole in the Charleston” in his White House comments.
Large capacity ammunition clips
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has been advocating legislation for years to ban the sale and transfer of high-capacity ammunition clips and “ military-style assault weapons. ” She has joined the Democratic Rep. Rhode Island’s David Cicillin to introduce identical legislation.
A ban on assault weapons, enacted under the Clinton administration, expired in 2004, 10 years after it was enacted.
“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines again in this country,” Biden said on Tuesday. ‘I did that when I was a senator. It passed. For the longest time it was the law. And it has nullified these mass murders. We should do it again. ‘
– Geoff Earle, Associated Press