As the coronavirus lockdown began in March, Texans flocked to gun stores to buy new firearms and ammunition, setting a record for the number of background checks conducted in one month.
Businesses that regularly sell guns are required to process background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Each month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) releases the data on the number of checks conducted through NICS.
While background checks are not mandated for License to Carry (LTC) holders and not every NICS check equates to a gun sale, the statistic is an indication of the number guns being purchased.
According to the FBI, there were a total of 179,192 NICS checks conducted in Texas throughout May — a 9 percent decline from April and a 35 percent decline from March.
At the nation-wide level, background checks increased from April to May by about 6 percent.
Both at the state level and nationwide, May 2020 is a record high for the month since NICS first began in 1998.
Previously, the May record in Texas for background checks was shared by the years 2013, 2015, and 2018 at just over 111,000.
May 2020 was 38 percent higher than that previous record, a number usually seen in December.
Nationally, background checks in May of this year increased by about 23 percent from last year’s record of 2.4 million to this year’s 3.1 million.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.