Gun sales break historic records in Virginia amid pandemic, protests

Federal data that is the best indication of gun purchases show gun sales have broken records in June across the country and in Virginia.

The data from the FBI document the number of new background checks required to buy a gun in most cases.

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According to the data, nationally, 3.9 million background checks were run in June, an all-time high since records have been kept.

In Virginia, the number of checks in June hit 84,124, another record.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, the state's gun lobbying organization, says the record sales are likely a reaction to uncertainty caused by the pandemic, social unrest in the form of protests which have sometimes become violent and a rush to buy guns before new gun control laws went into effect in Virginia on July 1.

"All the riots, all the talk of defunding the police. All of that has raised a whole lot of concern for the average American for their personal safety," said Philip Van Cleave, president of VCDL.

Gun sales in Virginia and Maryland did not exceed records in June, but in Maryland, they are up 164 percent this June over last.

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Giffords, a national organization that advocates for gun control, said in a statement that assertions that more guns make people safer are false and dangerous.

“The solution to feeling safe isn’t as simple as ‘get a gun.’ These impulsive buys and the prolonged uptick in gun sales we’re witnessing ultimately put these untrained gun owners and their families at greater risk of all forms of gun violence," said David Chipman, Giffords senior policy advisor and former ATF Special Agent.