by Guy Page
With a month left to go, gun sales in Vermont appear to have exceeded 50,000 for the first time since the federal government began conducting firearms background checks in 1998.
Through November, the federal government conducted 52,855 background checks for Vermont firearms purchases, according to the FBI National Criminal Instant Background Check (NCIS) system.
These statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not precisely represent the number of firearms sold. A one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale because some legal gun sales do not require a background check.
The highest month of 2020 was March, with 7,023 – when the pandemic struck in earnest. President Trump declared a national emergency March 13. Firearms sales surged immediately, peaking at 176,000 nationwide on March 16.
Since March, the next highest month for Vermont background checks (so far) was October with 5,214. November 5, VT Digger reported that “gun sellers across Vermont are reporting a spike in sales over the past few months. In a year that was already hot for gun sales, a contentious election and worries that a civil war might break out in its wake have only fueled the boom in the gun industry.” Other observers said the “defund the police” movement combined with civic unrest nationwide prompted many people to ensure their own physical security.
In 2019, Vermont ranked 19th in the nation for gun sales per person.
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