The past two years have witnessed gun sales the likes of which have never been seen before. It’s not just Red states either. The totals include big numbers in Blue states already home to some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
With the midterm elections less than 10 months away, elected officials supporting more gun control could be in for a rude awakening given the shifting Second Amendment support among their voting constituencies.
Gun Sales Blue Wave
Law-abiding Americans took firm control over their personal safety and Second Amendment rights in 2020 and recorded 21 million background checks for gun sales. That number dipped only slightly in 2021 for a total of 18.5 million. Those numbers include more than 8.4 million first-time gun buyers in 2020 and more than 3.2 million in the first half alone of 2021.
National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) verifications weren’t just processed in Red, pro-Second Amendment leaning states, however. Some of the biggest figures in the previous 12 months came from Blue states, typically home of strict gun control laws.
Of the seven states that processed more than one million NICS checks in the last year, two have Democratic governors, Democratic state legislatures and strict gun control laws. According to NSSF’s adjusted FBI NICS data, Illinois led the way among background checks processed in 2021 totaling more than 8.4 million checks for the year. An exception to most, that total includes checks run and rerun for Illinois Firearm Ownership Identification (FOID) cards and Concealed Carry Licenses (CCLs). California came in next with nearly 1.5 million checks run.
In the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., officials there processed almost 13,000 NICS checks for a firearm transfer. That number follows more than 11,000 during 2020’s buying spree, compared to less than 6,000 in 2019 before COVID shutdowns, riots and calls to defund the police escalated.
Even smaller Blue states, by population, experienced high marks. More than 277,000 background checks were run in Connecticut. That’s the highest number since 2016’s 316,00 checks when the prospects of an antigun Democratic-controlled White House were possible.