More than 5 million guns purchased in first 4 months of 2024

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(NewsNation) — Americans purchased an average of 1.3 million guns each month in the first quarter of 2024, data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System recorded.

That totals roughly 5.5 million guns bought from January to April 2024, slightly lower than 2023’s same date range.

Firearm purchases decreasing

The reports align with a decreasing trend in gun purchasing. 2023 recorded a 4% decline in total sales from 2022 at 16.7 million, and 2024 could be on track to drop even further.

Firearm sales peaked in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, heightened political unrest and a divisive presidential election.

Though numbers are down so far this year, the upcoming presidential election is a factor in driving up sales, according to SafeHome’s analysis.

“For instance, President Biden’s plans to limit the usage of guns by increasing background check procedures and banning assault weapons might increase the demand for guns as buyers anticipate such laws if he wins a second term,” the data reads.

Gun sales, state-by-state

The states with the highest gun sales are Texas, Florida and California. That trio accounts for 22% of the purchases so far this year.

Last year, the states leading the country in gun purchases per capita were Montana, Wyoming and Alaska, with 1,586 guns sold for every 10,000 Montana residents over 21.

North Carolina, Illinois, New Hampshire and Florida marked the only increases in gun sales from 2022 to 2023. Interestingly, Illinois tightened its gun laws between 2022 and 2023, but purchases still increased around 5% year over year.

Conversely, Washington, D.C., Delaware, New York and Louisiana all showed the biggest year-over-year decrease in sales. D.C. led with a whopping 32% decline.

Many of those drops can be attributed to stricter background checks and more stringent laws surrounding gun ownership.

Gun violence in America

The data follows U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declaring firearm violence a public health crisis, the first time someone holding that position has issued a public health advisory on gun violence.

It’s a move that has evoked a highly partisan response, with more conservative legislators opposing the country’s top doctor.

“Today, Surgeon Murthy abused his power in an attempt to target the Second Amendment,” GOP Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina said on the social platform X. “This is yet another attack on YOUR constitutional right to bear arms by the Biden admin, and we WILL NOT allow it.”

In response, Murthy said he hopes to raise awareness of how dire gun violence has become in the U.S.

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