Background checks for gun sales surged again in June, smashing the record for the highest number of background checks in a single month, according to FBI data released Wednesday.
The FBI said it conducted 3.9 million checks in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), shattering the previous record of 3.7 million checks in March.
And the number of checks represents a 70 percent increase over June 2019.
NICS checks are a rough estimate of gun sales.
Fueled by fears over the coronavirus and, more recently, the violent riots that followed the death of George Floyd in late May, the FBI is close to smashing last year’s record for most background checks.
Through the first six months of the year, the FBI has recorded 19 million background checks in NICS. That’s more than was recorded during the first 14 years of the system, which began in 1998.
The FBI recorded 28 million background checks last year.
Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting, which tracks gun industry data, estimates that 2.3 million guns were sold in June, which would be a 145.3 percent increase from June 2019.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s largest anti-gun violence group, blamed the surge in sales on the coronavirus pandemic. The group called for stricter gun laws, arguing more guns will lead to more violence.
“If lawmakers are serious about public safety, they will take immediate action to ensure that a background check is completed before every single gun sale, even if that takes longer than the current federal limit of just three days,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.