California Gun Background Checks at All-Time High

California gun shop (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

Gun sales are surging in California to such a degree that the state’s annual record for background checks was broken by November 30.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, specific numbers on handgun sales are available because of the way California keeps records, though numbers on long gun sales are not. Regarding handguns, “376,600…had been purchased in the state” before Black Friday arrived. Another “6,230 sales were pending, the vast majority of which are expected to be approved.”

The surging handgun sales are especially evident in certain areas of the state, like the San Joaquin Valley. “From 2010 to 2014, purchases increased between 163 and 224 percent in Kings, Tulare, Merced, Fresno and San Joaquin counties. Alpine County also saw a large jump, but its population – and subsequently the number of firearm sales – remained relatively small.”

And in the Bay Area, “handgun sales rose in all nine counties, but only Solano and Santa Clara had increases above the state average of 116 percent.”

As a consequence of these surging sales, California broke its annual record for background checks by the end of November with more than “1.5 million” checks performed.

California has some of the stricted gun control laws of any state in the Union. The Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence lists California as one of “eight states…[to] require universal background checks at the point of sale for all transfers of all classes of firearms, including purchases from unlicensed sellers.” In addition to universal background checks, California has gun registration requirements for “assault weapons” and gun confiscation laws for persons barred from firearm possession.

Universal background checks, registration requirements, and confiscatory laws were all irrelevant to the December 2 San Bernardino terror attack, in which the guns used were purchased legally by people with no prior criminal history or documented mental illness.

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