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Gun sales up nationwide, Utah going through a record number of background checks for firearms



Utah – Recent data shows gun sales are skyrocketing up across the country, and Utah appears to be no exception.  The statistics show state officials are going through an extremely high number of background checks for firearms, lately.

Officials from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification say there were just over 31 thousand requests for background checks for firearms in the last quarter of 2019.  However, during the same period of 2020, that number jumped to over 52 thousand.  Granted, a record number of background checks doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a record number of firearm purchases.  However, BCI Manager Jacob Dunn says it’s likely to happen.

Dunn says, “If there are multiple sales going under one background check, we can’t say for certain, but it does look that way.”

A new report from USA Today shows gun sales spiked up in the first quarter of 2021, with over 4.1 million being sold nationwide in just the month of January.  According to BCI data, the percentage of people being denied a request to buy a weapon dropped slightly from a year ago.  Dunn says anyone going through a check has to go through the same process, no matter where they are in the country.

Dunn says, “A felony conviction, a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and protective orders are the most common reasons a person is denied.”

Why is this surge happening?  Dunn says they can’t be certain of that, since they’re not permitted to ask people why they want to buy a gun.  However, Clark Aposhian with the Utah Shooting Sports Council believes a growing number of people are uncertain about whether or not restrictions would be tightened on gun sales under the Biden administration.  He says the spike in January is proof of that.

Aposhian says, “The interesting thing is, typically, after November, we would see that start to drop off again, but we aren’t seeing it.  It’s being redoubled.”

While gun sales are on the rise, Aposhian says ammunition is harder to find.  Some manufacturers had to slow production because of COVID-19.  He says gun owners are purchasing bullets every chance they can, even if they already have some.  Aposhian says it’s similar to the run on toilet paper of 2020.

“They’re not sure if they’re going to see that box of ammo, again,” he says.

USA Today also reports growing civil unrest may be behind the increase, with many people buying them for personal protection.