Background checks for gun purchases in Arizona hit their highest level ever in 2020, driven by an unprecedented convergence of a pandemic, a summer of national unrest and a presidential election, experts said.
Through the end of November, 610,911 background checks had been performed in the state, well over the 372,912 done in all of 2019, according to FBI data.
The Arizona spike is part of a nationwide increase, said Kelly Drane, research director at Giffords Law Center, a gun-control advocacy group. She estimated that there was a nearly 90% increase in gun sales nationally from March to October 2020 compared to 2019, with early data indicating “a substantial number of these purchases were made by new gun owners.”
Veerachart Murphy said that is what he has seen at Ammo AZ, the Phoenix gun store he owns, where there has been a “huge uptick in first-time buyers.”