According to FBI figures, background checks required to purchase a firearm spiked to record numbers last month, fueled partly by fears over the ongoing pandemic. March saw 3.7 million checks conducted, the most since the system was created in 1998, fully eclipsing the previous record of 3.3 million set in December of 2015. Further confirming the trend, spikes in sales corresponded closely with landmarks in the pandemic, such as the nation's first recorded death on February 29, the ensuing school and business closures, and president Trump's social-distancing guidelines. What's more, retailers have reported an overwhelming majority of purchasers are first-time gun-owners.
With such inexperience comes the necessary dispelling of misconceptions—chief among these, according to Omaha Outdoors, is the realization that you cannot simply purchase a gun online and have it shipped to your home. According to an article by Andrew Tuohy on the aforementioned website, "Here at Omaha Outdoors, we’ve been inundated with inquiries from out-of-state folks —many from California —asking if we can ship them a gun directly. The answer is, of course, no. Despite what politicians and many in popular media claim, you can’t buy a gun online and have it shipped to your house."
With many states still weeks away from their peak projected number of cases, we can only expect this trend, and the questions that come with it, to continue. While the unfortunate circumstances the world finds itself in will surely increase the number of gun owners in our nation, it is important to ensure such newcomers are educated on how to safely own, store and handle a firearm. Thus if you think anyone you know fits this category, be sure to reach out and help do your part to make sure they join the ranks of not just new gun owners, but law-abiding and safe gun owners as well.
For more information on March's record-breaking background checks, please visit liber.post-gazette.com, and for more on the challenges being discovered by first-time gun owners, check out omahaoutdoors.com.