On July 7, the FBI announced that June 2015 was the “busiest June” for gun purchase background checks ever.
According CNN Money, there were “1.53 million background checks,” which is the highest number of checks in a given June since the FBI began recording the number of checks in 1999.
Although some linked the jump in sales to fears of more gun control—which followed Democrat calls for new gun laws after the heinous June 17 attack in Charleston—this suggestion by itself misses the mark. That is evident in the fact that May 2015 was also a record-setting month for background checks for gun sales.
What really seems to be at play here is the steady increase in background checks, which “have climbed annually since 2003,” and have only remained flat in three of those years.
We’ve seen this same thing with background checks on individual, high-volume days in recent history as well. For example, in 2008 there were 97,848 background checks on Black Friday. That jumped to 129,166 for a single day by 2011 and then hit 154,873 in 2012.
Then, in 2014, the number of background checks soared to a point that the FBI performed nearly three checks every second on Black Friday. The final numbers on background checks for Black Friday 2014 exceeded 175,000.
Whether talking about one day sales or a high-month record, it is important to remember that background checks are not a count on the number of guns sold but on the number of people getting a background check to buy a gun.
Each person, after passing a check, may buy multiple guns. That means the number of guns sold on Black Friday 2014 could have been upwards of 525,000—if every person who passed a check bought three. If everyone who passed a check in June 2015 bought three, that would put the number of guns sold at over 4.5 million for that month alone.
But the number of guns purchased by each buyer is not public knowledge, so suffice it to say, 1.53 million background checks in a single June means gun sales are soaring.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.