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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.

Go deeper

The Twin Cities' January was way warmer than normal

Data: National Weather Service; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Twin Cities started the year on a meteorologically high note, with daily temperatures averaging six degrees above normal throughout January, according to the National Weather Service.

The state of play: January recorded zero days below zero, NWS senior forecaster Joe Calderone noted. That followed just two sub-zero days in December. Sunday alone was 14 degrees warmer than usual.

Twin Cities coffee roasters see pandemic-fueled growth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Our collective need for caffeine while WFH is fueling growth for some Twin Cities coffee roasters.

Driving the trend: With office closures confining many workers to their homes, we've all looked for ways to replicate the coffee shop experience.

MSP's long recovery runway

Adapted from a Metro Airports Commission report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Air travel was up over the holidays, but MSP officials project it will be years before the airport's passenger load returns to pre-pandemic levels.

By the numbers: Total passenger traffic plummeted to 14.9 million in 2020, down 62% from 2019, the Metropolitan Airports Commission said Friday.