More than 2.3 million guns were sold in June, a 145 percent increase from the prior year, with experts attributing the staggering number to unrest in the wake of George Floyd's, according to statistics released Wednesday.
An estimated 2,387,524 guns were sold in June 2020, data from Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting show. SAAF examines the raw data obtained from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
June marks the fourth month that has seen a noticeable increase in gun sales, with May, April and March reporting year-over-year increases of 80.2 percent, 71.3 percent and 85.3 percent, respectively, according to previously released SAAF data.
“Relative to same-month sales in June 2019, firearm sales soared yet again in June 2020,” said Jurgen Brauer, SAAF’s chief economist. “Once more, demand was particularly strong for handguns. The first week of June saw especially high background check volumes, presumably related to the aftermath of the killing of Mr. George Floyd."
Tensions have flared throughout the nation in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, was killed after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, despite Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe.
In some areas of the U.S., peaceful protests over systematic racism and police brutality have turned violent. Public and elected officials have said in some cases there were organized riots and that some opportunists have used the diverted police attention as a chance to commit crimes.
“These figures represent the highest June on record since the FBI began conducting instant background checks more than 20 years said," Mark Oliva, spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in an emailed statement. "Civil unrest, rioting, looting and calls to defund police are unquestionably motivating factors of why this trend is increasing."
Dana Loesch, a former spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, previously told FOX Business she expected people would be eager to buy firearms because of the violence reported in parts of the nation at the beginning of June.
“When people see the violence that they see on television – and people understand the difference between peaceful protesters and violent rioters – they see, you know, the sunset and then the fires start, and see the assaults and the looting and the breaking and destruction of private property,” Loesch said, adding: “When people see that, obviously they want to go out and purchase firearms. They want to make sure that they're protected.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.