After three months of declines, gun background checks in the United States rose again in October, rising from 2.892 million up to 3.305 million. That’s the highest monthly reading since July as the wave of civil unrest started to abate. While off the highs seen earlier this year, October’s number of background checks was the fifth-highest monthly total on record and higher than all but one monthly reading prior to 2000. Just to illustrate how much of a surge we have seen in background checks for firearms this year, the chart below shows the total number of background checks in the first ten months of each year since 2000. At the current total of 32.1 million, total background checks are dwarfing every other year on record. This year’s total number of background checks is already higher than any full-year total since 2000, and even September’s YTD total of 28.8 million would have surpassed every other prior year on record.
Not only is this year’s increase in background checks the highest on record, but the y/y increase in this year’s first ten months relative to last year is also the largest increase on record. Prior to 2020, the largest y/y change over the first ten months of the year was 2016’s increase of 26.3%. This year, though, background checks are up by over 40%! We’ve seen a number of statistics this year showing that uncertainty on the part of Americans towards the economy and country, in general, is at record highs, and the increase in the number of Americans purchasing firearms is just another real-life example. Click here to view Bespoke’s premium membership options and unlock full access to our research and interactive tools.