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Gun sales surge amid pandemic, political turmoil

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 1:19 PM EST
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SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - Gun sales nationwide have been sky high since lockdowns began in March. Now, 2021 has brought a new spike, showing that this surge in sales is not slowing down.

There’s no way to know for sure how many guns were actually sold last month, but the FBI does keep a record of firearm background checks, known as the National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS).

In January 2021, there were 98,651 background checks, the fourth highest month since the database was created in 1998.

In 2020, there were 976,751 total background checks in Ohio, which is more than a 50% increase from 2019.

Nationwide, of the FBI’s top ten highest weeks for numbers of checks, nine come from the last year, and the first three weeks of 2021 all fall in the top five.

“The supply can’t keep up with the demand. The supply is the same as it was, but the demand is just that much greater. As soon as something comes in, it’s sold. Stuff is pre-ordered that sells before it even makes it to the shelves. Just can’t keep up,” says Pete Arquette, the owner of Adco Firearms in Sylvania.

Arquette always asks his customers why they’re looking to buy a gun, and in the last year, he’s gotten the same answer over and over again: fear.

He says a large percentage of his clients this year are first-time gun owners, way more than ever before. He says these first-time buyers are highly diverse, people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. But they all seem to agree that now is the time that they need protection.

“I sold seven guns in one day to Black women that were all born in the ’40′s, that were all born below the state of Kentucky. Grandchildren of the Great Migration bought their first guns. They lived through Jim Crow, they lived through the Civil Rights Act. It wasn’t until 2021 that they felt they needed to buy a gun,” says Arquette.

He says that those women came in about two weeks ago.

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