Gun sales surged last month, with the over 2 million firearms bought in January marking an 80% year-over-year increase and the second-highest total for one month on record, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal gun background check data.
Record-highs in gun sales were set in 2020, when almost 23 million guns were bought — a 64% increase over the previous year, the Post reports. March saw an estimated 2.1 million firearms sold as the coronavirus pandemic led to uncertainty and panic-buying, and sales climbed to 2.8 million in June and 2.5 million in July as the protests over George Floyd’s death led to civil unrest.
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School professor Steven Dulan told the Post that first-time gun buyers commonly said they did not believe police departments could protect them after some agencies were overwhelmed during the summer’s racial justice protests.
“The folks that said they would never become a gun owner were trusting the police to protect them, and that delusion has been dispelled,” Dulan said.