The FBI's system to perform background checks on those seeking to own or possess a firearm processed a record 3.9 million requests, the most in the 22-year history of the program and 200,000 more than the previous record, The Associated Press reported.
The system created in 1998 to ensure felons and other prohibited people could not buy or possess a firearm eclipsed the previous high of 3.7 million requests set in March, according to AP.
With only six months of 2020 completed, more than 19 million checks have been completed, more than all of 2012 and every year before that.
The FBI system not only checks for gun sales but states that require a permit to carry a firearm.
"Civil unrest, rioting, looting, and calls to defund police are unquestionably motivating factors of why this trend is increasing," said National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Mark Oliva. "Americans are right to be concerned for their personal safety.
"Politicians who entertain notions of defunding police departments are the same ones who call for strict gun control and even outright confiscation. These figures aren't push polls. They are representative of Americans from all walks of life who are taking action and taking responsibility for their rights and their safety."
The NSSF, an industry trade group comprised of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, shooting ranges and sportsmen's clubs, said an estimated 40% of those purchasing firearms are first-time buyers.
David Chipman, senior policy director for the Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence gun control group, said the increases are not a temporary or minor deviation.
"This can no longer be characterized as a spike," he said. "This is a sustained uptick in sales that has continued for an unprecedented amount of months now."
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