GunsTexas Gun Sales Up Ahead of Election

Background check data from the FBI indicate that gun sales in Texas and across the country rose during October, likely driven by concerns about the presidential election.
November 2, 2020
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Gun sales, as indicated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Instant Background Check System (NICS), are up ahead of the presidential election this week.

For the month of October, the FBI reports that 192,000 firearm background checks were conducted in the state of Texas, an increase from 178,000 in September.

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.

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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.

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Daniel Friend

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.

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