Apr 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Gun background checks hit single-month high in March

A customer purchasing an AR-15 in Orem, Utah, in March 2021.

A customer purchasing an AR-15 in Orem, Utah, in March 2021. Photo: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FBI conducted 4,691,738 background checks for firearm sales this March, a single-month record for the U.S.

Why it matters: The surge in background checks may be a result of gun control bills recently passed by the House and gun restriction recommendations by President Biden in the wake of three mass shootings in March.

Context: Last month, the House passed a bill that would require background checks for all gun purchasers.

  • Congress passed another bill aimed at closing a loophole that allows firearm dealers to complete sales after three days if a buyer's background check has not been finished by the FBI.
  • Biden urged the Senate to pass the two House bills and called on Congress as a whole to renew bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

By the numbers: Of the top 10 days for most background checks in the country's history, six were in March 2021, according to FBI data.

  • The FBI performed 236,295 background checks on March 17 alone — the busiest day for checks in U.S. history.

The big picture: A gunman killed four people, including a 9-year-old boy, in Orange, California, on March 31.

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