March 2021 marked a new single-month record for the number of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which also marked the 15th consecutive month of record-breaking background checks.
According to FBI statistics released Thursday, 4,691,738 background checks were performed in March this year, crushing the previous single-month record by more than 300,000.
The jump in background checks could be a result of gun buyers using their stimulus checks to purchase firearms.
“Honestly, last March was absolutely insane,” said Tiffany Teasdale, owner of Lynnwood Gun in Lynnwood, Wash told Forbes. “We had a two-hour wait almost daily to just get into our store.”
“Once the stimulus money came out, people were buying again,” said Teasdale. “Customers would come in ranting and raving about their stimulus money they just got and how Uncle Sam is helping them to buy more guns.”
An increase in background checks and purchases is also suspected to be driven by anticipated gun control measures from Biden’s executive action or Congress.
While the number of background checks performed does not necessarily equal the number of firearms purchased, on March 31 the National Rifle Association tweeted that President Joe Biden was “good at two things: selling guns and driving up NRA membership.”
The record-breaking number of background checks comes as Democrat lawmakers push for increased gun control at the federal level.
On March 11, the House of Representatives passed two gun-control bills expanding federal background checks. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8) would criminalize private gun sales conducted without a background check and the Enhanced Backgrounds Checks Act (H.R. 1446) would allow the FBI to put a hold on transferring a firearm for a minimum of 10 days and up to 30 days, rather than the three days currently allowed by law.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s administration is “working on a couple of levers” to implement new gun control policy either through Congress or by executive action.
Psaki said the administration has “seen an openness by even some Republicans to having a debate and a discussion.”
“While that is moving, while there are discussions on that front — and the president will certainly be engaged in those — we are also continuing to review and consider what the options are for executive actions,” Psaki said.
Last week, President Joe Biden addressed the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, that left 10 people dead and called for harsher gun-control policy.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save the lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said.
“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed. It was the law for the longest time. And it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.”