One way to monitor how active firearms sales are in America is by reviewing the number of background checks when a firearm is purchased by a federal firearms licensee ( a typical gun store ). Last month, those background checks exceeded 135% (3.9 million) over June 2019. Here in Florida, there were 210,415 background checks to purchase firearms from firearms dealers in June 2020.
There could be several reasons for this rise in gun sales; from the recent protests, to those predicting a dire economy in coming months, to recent U.S. Supreme Court inaction on gun rights.
For all the talk about how “right-wing” the U.S. Supreme Court has become, it has chosen not to hear key Second Amendment cases, kicking them back down to the states. Two cases that refused to be heard by the Court in June were dealing with semi-automatic firearms that are banned in two states. One would think if the court was so “right-wing” that the Court would hear those cases and strike down those bans; however, it was not to be. So some Americans are fearful more bans are on the way, so they need to get the firearms they need for protection now. President Trump saying things like, “Take the firearms first and then go to court,” doesn’t help qualm the fears of gun owners. Trump’s ban on bump stocks, extending the waiting period to purchase a firearm, and his statement that he supports a “ban on assault weapons,” leaves room for fear for Americans to get their guns now.
Then there is the fresh rise of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests after the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. The killing of Floyd helped reignite anger against the police and put back in focus the relations between blacks and whites in America. The spillover has resulted in various statutes being defaced or toppled, even that of Frederick Douglass, which has caused many Americans to wonder where the violence is going next.
Meanwhile, fear that the government will turn off the spigot of “free money” going out to the populous and cause widespread thefts and violence is another reason people are adding to their personal protection plans. Many Americans who have had their businesses closed or have had their livelihoods adversely affected by government closure mandates because of COVID-19, may have to figure out other means of income. Congress may re-institute another payment program for these business owners and workers next week as Senators and U.S. House members return to work, but that is all unsure at this point. But many see on the horizon the potential for mass layoffs from major and small businesses as the government mandates they patronize fewer businesses. While unemployment has been going down recently, many feel it will rise dramatically because of the government shutdowns. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax deed sales, are all genuine possibilities in coming months.
Since we have a presidential election coming up on November 3, 2020, it is worth noting where the three presidential candidates who are expected to appear on the ballot in all 50 states stand on gun rights and gun control. As mentioned earlier in this article, Donald Trump has not been the best in the eyes of gun rights advocates, and it would seem that he and Joe Biden are similarly aligned for gun control measures. They both feel “assault weapons” (however those are defined) should be banned from Americans’ possession, support extensive background checks before a citizen can purchase a firearm, and support so-called red flag laws. Jo Jorgensen has stated her opinion on gun rights this way via her Twitter account, “I support the repeal of all laws restricting the right to bear arms, including red flag laws. I would abolish the ATF whose sole purpose is to enforce unconstitutional laws.” So it would appear, if you support gun control, then a vote for Biden or Trump is in order, and if you support gun rights, then a vote for Jorgensen would be in order.