Special Report

15 States Where Gun Sales Continue To Fall

Gun sales, using firearm background checks as a proxy, have fallen nationally over the past year. In some states, the drop has been much more dramatic than in others. While there was a decline in background checks in 40 states in the first 10 months of the year compared to the same period last year, far fewer states also reported a decline in background checks between September and October.

America is, without question, the gun capital of the world. In a typical month gun background checks top 2 million nationwide. By one estimate, the total number of guns in circulation nationwide has reached 400 million, which is over one for every person in the nation. America also has among the world’s worst gun violence. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 38,062 Americans have been killed by guns in 2022. (These are 28 guns used the most to commit crimes in America.)

The first full year the FBI had gun background checks was 1999, when the figure was 9,138,123. The figure topped 10 million in 2006, and 20 million in 2013. It has risen most years since then.

In 2020, gun background checks surged to 39,695,315. The increase started in March, during the first surge in COVID-19 infections, and remained high through the end of the year. There is no definitive cause. One theory is that as the COVID-19 pandemic began, people were worried about their safety. Another is that the social unrest toward the end of that year created similar anxiety among many Americans.

In 2021, background checks dropped very slightly to 38,876,673. This year, they continued to drop and will be nearly 30 million. But the drop has not been consistent in all states. (These are the 33 senators with perfect scores from the American gun lobby.)

To determine the states where gun sales continue to fall, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We listed all 15 states where firearm background checks declined in the first 10 months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, and where background checks declined between September and October of this year. States are ranked in order of the percentage decline in background checks between September and October. Population figures are one-year estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

Click here to see 15 states where gun sales continue to fall.

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