Illinois residents shopped for more guns and applied for more firearm permits in 2020 than at any other time in history, according to statistics released Wednesday by state police.
With events during this unprecedented year driving the demand, there had been more than 500,000 serious inquiries to date about purchasing guns, authorities said, representing a 45% increase over 2019. The state also has received a record 445,945 applications for firearm owner’s identification cards as of November 2020, a 167% jump from the 166,649 applications in 2017. The Illinois State Police did not release numbers for any other years but said the 2020 applications “blew past” a previous surge in 2013 after concealed carry licenses were first offered.
“It’s a reflection of the great deal of unease and a reflection of the tension we have in this state and across the country,” Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said. “It’s undeniable.”
There are now more than 2.2 million Illinois residents with FOID cards, a number that has nearly doubled over the past decade, according to state police data. The number of concealed carry licenses has swelled from 90,301 in 2014 to 343,299 in 2020. The year’s first spike in gun purchases came in March, as COVID-19 began to take hold in the United States and Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order aimed at slowing the virus’s spread. In that month alone, there were 64,000 background checks performed in anticipation of a firearm sale, according to state police. [full article]