This Is How Many Guns Were Sold in Each State So Far This Year

The trend in gun sales began to change in 2021 compared to most other years in the past decade. Gun sales, using the FBI’s firearms background checks as a proxy, reached 38,876,673 in 2021. This was down slightly from the record set in 2020 of 39,695,315.

There are several theories explaining the sharp rise in gun sales over the past two years. Among them is the violence in American cities during protests. Another is that the pandemic has, perhaps irrationally, increased concerns about protecting one’s property. The 2022 background checks figures show that some of these trends may have started to taper off.

Despite the drop, gun violence continues to be a regular part of the news headlines this year. Murders in American cities spiked last year, particularly in large cities. So far this year, the trend has continued. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a surge in gun violence in Seattle, which is generally considered a relatively safe city. Here are cities where the record for most murders was broken in 2021.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have already been 8,939 gun deaths in America so far in 2022. Even with stricter gun ownership and purchasing laws, the difficult fact is that about 400 million guns are currently owned by private citizens, the police, and the military. The chance that civilians who own guns will turn them into the government, no matter what the incentive, is small. These are the states with the best and worst gun laws.

Inexplicably, gun sales collapsed in the first two months of this year, compared to the same period in 2021. So far, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System reported 5,146,500 background checks, compared to 7,760,581 in January and February of 2021. That means the 2022 number was only 66% of the number for 2021.

Total gun sales remained high in some states. Background check figures were particularly large in Illinois, at 782,222 during January and February. 

To determine how many guns were sold in each state so far this year, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on background checks data from Jan. 1, 2022, to Feb. 28, 2022, from the FBI’s NICS Firearm Checks. We used the background checks as a proxy for year-to-date gun sales. Population data used to calculate gun sales per capita came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates program and are for July 1, 2021.

Here are the gun sales figures for the first two months of 2022 for all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

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