Photo courtesy of the NSSF
Firearms sales skyrocketed in Virginia and also increased nationally in February, according to new data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
The NSSF’s adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data shows that Virginia performed nearly 66,000 background checks in February alone, a 63.4% increase from the roughly 40,000 performed a year earlier. Virginia’s numbers have increased over the past four months, dating back to last November, when the most recent elections took place.
The rise coincides with a newly elected legislature that is increasingly hostile towards the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. Multiple pieces of legislation, including a limit on handgun purchases, a red-flag law and much more, advanced during the state’s 2020 Legislative Session.
“It’s a trend we’re seeing in Virginia. What that’s telling us is that Virginians are voting with their wallets. The Virginia legislature and governor are not listening to their citizens,” Mark Oliva, NSSF public affairs director, told America’s 1st Freedom. “We defeated probably the most-egregious bill, still, some very bad ones went through. [Virginians] are buying the firearms they want while they can before their rights are infringed.”
Firearms sales numbers also rose nationally with an increase of 16.7% compared to the February 2019 NSSF-adjusted data. The national increase, to a lesser degree, undoubtedly mirrors the trend in Virginia. Multiple candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination have all made no secret of their contempt for the Second Amendment.
“People are paying attention. Now that Beto O’Rourke has become [former Vice President Joe] Biden’s point man for his gun-control policy, that’s very worrisome to Americans,” said Oliva.
For comparison, the unadjusted FBI NICS figure for February of this year represents a nearly 37% increase from a year earlier, with over 2.7 million background checks processed.
The NSSF routinely analyzes the NICS statistics and the adjusted data accurately reflects the number of firearms purchased, having removed background checks that are unlikely to represent being used for firearm purchases.
Last year produced a record number of background checks, which indicated an increased number of firearms purchases. In fact, the number of background checks conducted in 2019 exceeded all other years on record dating back to 1998.