Guns and Weapons

What’s fueling the record surge of gun sales in America

Why record numbers of Americans bought guns in 2020
Why record numbers of Americans bought guns in 2020

The 2020 election. Unrest in the streets. A crippling pandemic. This trifecta of events made people worry about the future of America. And when people are worried in America, they buy guns.

Gun sales in 2020 have surged, and the market for gun parts and ammunition has gone up with it. Federal background checks have passed an all-time high of 32 million for the year in October, with more than a month and a half to go in 2020.

"You always have sort of your usual suspects — your middle-age, what people consider like the stereotypical gun owner," said Amy Swearer, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "But you're also seeing very large increases in percentages that are either minorities or women."

In early November, President-elect Joe Biden tweeted support for a new assault weapons ban.

Biden helped pass the original assault weapons ban, which lasted from 1994 to 2004.

"We've never, ever had a president of the United States and a vice president of the United States who embrace gun violence prevention and public health solutions to gun violence in the manner that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do," said Kris Brown, the president of Brady, a gun reform group. 

Watch the video above to see what's been driving gun sales and what more guns in America means amid a tense political climate and global pandemic. Will the surge in gun sales begin to slow down as a Biden administration takes over in 2021 or will the specter of new gun regulation cause it to continue?