Feb 3, 2021 - News
Minnesota gun sales soar after U.S. Capitol siege
Data: NSSF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Minnesota gun sales spiked in January, as retailers reported running twice as many background checks as they did the same month last year.

By the numbers: The National Shooting Sports Foundation tallied more than 37,600 statewide requests to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in January — nearly double the 18,990 in January 2020.

  • It wasn't just January: More than 380,000 background checks were recorded here in 2020, up 49% from the previous year.
  • While gun sales often increase in election years, retailers reported a sudden surge last March, when the state's stay-home order took effect.

Driving the trend: The latest increase came amid a month of political unrest, including the Jan. 6. insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

  • NSSF spokesperson Mark Oliva argued the "blistering pace" of purchases might also reflect concerns about new gun laws passing under the Biden administration.

Of note: Oliva said NSSF's surveys show 40% of in-store buyers nationwide in 2020 were purchasing a firearm for the first time. Some of the biggest gains were among women and Black customers, he said.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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