Despite Democrat demand for more gun control, federal background checks set a new record high for the month of March.
The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System ran 2,767,699 checks for firearms purchases last month, the most checks in the month of March since the investigative bureau began keeping records in 1998.
Background checks in March were up over 10% from the same month last year which totaled 1,503,967. Handgun checks increased 3.9%, while long guns saw an increase of 17.3%.
While there is no statistical data available to pinpoint the exact number of firearms sold, the FBI’s background check stats are used as a barometer for gun sales and gives insight into the American public’s sentiment on the re-occurring gun control debate.
As Bloomberg notes, the new record highs in background checks sent shares of some publicly traded firearms companies higher on Tuesday.
Shares of Sportsman’s Warehouse shot up 10% at one point during trading while Vista Outdoor saw an uptick of 4% after the numbers came out.
According to Brett Andress, a market analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets, the increase in background checks is yet another round of “fear-based buying.”
“The March data confirmed the re-emergence of fear-based buying,” Andress said on Tuesday. “The primary tell being the more politically sensitive long guns rising 17.3 percent.”
The re-emergence of fear-based buying began when renewed calls for control rang out in the wake of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in February. One Florida gun store owner saw a spike of 33% in firearm sales compared to February 2017, claiming to have sold over a dozen AR-15’s in a span of just four days.
The number of firearm background checks conducted by the FBI in February jumped nationally by nearly 100,000, setting the second highest record for the month in 20 years.