May 30, 2021 - Economy

Gun sales spike across the United States as country reemerges from pandemic

A van involved in a crime scene is behind yellow caution tape, as police investigate.

Shell-case evidence markers dot the parking lot outside a banquet hall in Hialeah, Fla., today. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The pandemic and last summer's protests have heightened Americans' appetite for guns, leading to "an unusual, prolonged buying spree," the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: A week this spring broke the record for federal background checks — 1.2 million, the most since the government started tracking in 1998.

Why it matters: The uptick comes amid a rise in crime and as Washington has reignited the debate around weapons and how to regulate them.

Worth noting: About a fifth of all Americans who bought guns last year were first-time owners, according to new data from Northeastern University and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

  • New owners were less likely than usual to be male and white: Half were women, a fifth were Black and a fifth were Hispanic, The Times reported in its exclusive look at the data.

Go deeper: America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

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