2020 has gotten off to a very interesting start, to say the least. So much has already caused worry, anxiety, negativity, and division within not only our country but the world as a whole. Usually we can get a small vacation from things like that by going to the range and immersing ourselves in the shooting sports. With that currently not possible let’s take a few minutes to reflect of some positive things that have happened so far, specifically in the 2-A community.
In March, the FBI processed the highest number of NICS (background) checks in a single month since they began tracking the information nearly 22 years ago! We have also set a record for the most NICS checks processed in a single quarter. For reference, the FBI processed over 3.7 MILLION checks in March bringing the quarterly total to over 9.2 MILLION.
To put that in perspective, that would be the equivalent of the entire populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota COMBINED! Additionally, the population for the entire state of North Carolina is just over 10 million, meaning we could have processed background checks for nearly every man, woman, and child in NC in just the first quarter of 2020! (South Carolina is just over 5 million, meaning nearly everyone could have been processed twice!)
A few important things to remember about these numbers:
- When purchasing multiple firearms at once, only a single NICS check is required.
- Certain states do not require a NICS check for individuals with a Concealed Carry License.
With those points in mind, it would be logical to make 3 distinct assumptions:
- WAY more than 3.7 million guns were sold in March.
- WAY more than 9.2 million guns were sold in the first quarter of 2020.
- There are more first-time gun owners than ever before in this country.
For many, especially in heavily restricted states, the firearm-purchasing process has been an eye-opening experience, realizing that it is not as easy of a process as some media outlets have lead them to believe. With new gun ownership hopefully comes a better understanding of current laws and regulations regarding firearms, accessories, and ammunition. We can hope that this new knowledge helps to get at least some of these archaic laws changed or removed altogether.
It is important that we, as experienced owners, are good ambassadors and resources for people new to firearm ownership. Arguably most important is helping make them feel welcome into this new community. I know I have already fielded many questions that some may consider “dumb”, but just remember that we were all there at one point in time. Have patience and do your best to help them. If they ask questions that you cannot answer, don’t be afraid to point them to someone who can.
Continuing with that theme, many YouTube personalities like Colion Noir, MrGunsNGear, IraqVeteran8888, and more have published videos that were constructed to help educate these new firearm owners. In these videos they talk not only about the 4 fundamental firearm safety rules, but also things like firearm storage, ammunition types and uses, and many more educational things. I would encourage each of you to watch some of these as a refresher (because what else is there to do?). You can also then direct some of the folks who are reaching out to you as a resource for information to those videos. This will likely lead them down the “rabbit hole” and they will want to continue to move forward with the shooting sports!
I ask that each of us be an asset to our families and our communities by assisting when possible. If you’re like me and you’ve already cleaned and reorganized everything around the house, maybe take this time to take our and do your annual cleaning and lubricating of your firearms to keep them protected from rust and corrosion (and also to make sure they feel loved!). Until we can get back to a sense of normalcy, be safe and stay healthy!