In a record year of gun sales, many have been bought by first-time gun owners, according to store owners and background check statistics. The FBI has reported more background checks for gun buyers this year than during any year since tracking began in 1998. Texas gun store owners and firearms experts believe most of these new customers have little training on how to handle, store and use the weapons. Eagle Gun Range owner David Prince said his sales have more than doubled this year compared to last. And many of his customers have told him they are new, first-time gun owners.
“The difference in demographics has been staggering,” Prince said. FBI statistics show there have been 1,730,278 firearm background checks through September in Texas — the most of any year since tracking began in 1998. Background checks can be an indicator of gun sales. FBI statistics show there have been 1,730,278 firearm background checks through September in Texas — the most of any year since tracking began in 1998. Background checks can be an indicator of gun sales. The FBI reported 2,892,115 background checks nationwide in September, bringing the 2020 total so far to 28,826,449, more than the prior yearly record of 28,369,750 million in all of 2019. Firearm sales traditionally increase during presidential election years, fueled by fears among gun owners that the next president could restrict their rights. But this year has also come with the coronavirus pandemic and widespread demonstrations over racial inequality and police brutality. Prince said he has met people who previously opposed owning a gun but have changed their minds this year. “We have increased the fold of Second Amendment supporters,” he said. The rise in gun sales started around mid-to-late March, right after the COVID-19 pandemic starting shutting down parts of Texas’ economy. Prince told WFAA on March 24 that gun sales at his two stores in Farmers Branch and Lewisville were up 500% in the span of two weeks. [full article]