Nationally, the number of checks increased from 2.9 million to 3.3 million.
Businesses that regularly sell firearms are required by the federal government to process background checks on transactions and carry permit applications, though in Texas, License to Carry (LTC) holders who have already passed a background check do not necessarily need another when buying a firearm.
Since not all NICS checks equate a purchase, the data from the FBI is far from a perfect metric, but typically serves as a good indicator of the demand for firearms.
A shortage of ammunition and firearms this year might also deter some potential gun-buyers from making a purchase.
Nonetheless, the number of checks in Texas specifically for handgun purchases and LTC applications increased from 69,000 and 47,000 in September to 73,000 and 58,000 in October, respectively.
The number of checks on long gun purchases declined slightly from 46,000 to 45,000.
Nationally, the number of checks on both types of purchases and permits increased from month to month.
Though the number of checks for the month in Texas exceeds the previous October record of 144,000 in 2016, it is only the fifth-highest number for a single month this year.
With the coronavirus pandemic, government lockdowns, and violent protests, the number of checks this year both in Texas and nationally has easily surpassed previous records.
The increase in October sales is likely driven in part by concerns about the outcome of the presidential election.
Joe Biden’s stated plan “to end our gun violence epidemic” lists a long number of gun control policies Biden pledges to pursue if elected to the White House, including a plan to “enact legislation to prohibit all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.”
Details about background check numbers during the previous record-shattering months of this year can be found below.
- March: Firearm Sales Surge, Background Checks Reach an All-Time High as Gun Stores Keep their Doors Open
- April: Texas Gun Sales, Background Checks Remain High Throughout April
- May: Texas Background Checks for Gun Sales Remain at Record High in May
- June: Gun Sales Continue to Soar, Texas Sets Another Record for Background Checks
- July: Gun Sales Remain High as Texas Sets New Record for License to Carry Background Checks
- August: Gun Sales in Texas Remain High Throughout August
- September: Texas Gun Sales Down Slightly, but New Annual Record Reached Before End of Year
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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.