The US Federal Bureau of Investigations is on pace to process a record number of firearm background checks this year, signaling that gun sales might reach an all-time high as well.
During the month of October, the FBI conducted 1,976,759 firearm background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), according to the government’s monthly report. That’s a 23% increase from a year earlier and an all-time high for the month.
It’s the sixth straight record-setting month for firearm-related checks, putting the US on target to complete the largest number of checks ever this year, surpassing the current record set in 2013.
Federally-licensed firearm dealers are required to perform background checks on prospective buyers before every sale, making federal background check figures strong indicators of overall gun sales.
However, the FBI’s report cautions that there is not a one-to-one correlation between firearm-related checks and gun sales, because background check requirements vary by state and purchase scenario.
You don’t need a background check in most states to purchase a gun from a private seller at a gun show, for example.
According to Fortune, the boost in background checks and gun sales might be driven partly by Democrats’ calls for new gun control measures. Gun enthusiasts may be stocking up due to the threat of stricter gun laws.