Last year, the FBI rejected 300,000 applications from Americans to purchase firearms for their own use.
In 42% of cases, the reason for refusal was that those willing to purchase a rifle or pistol had been convicted of a crime in the past.
According to AP, the number of refusals is twice as large as last year. If in 2017, refusals for those willing to buy weapons amounted to only 0.01%, then in the previous two years – 0.6-0.8%.
The trend corresponds to the general situation in the United States, when since the beginning of the pandemic, Americans began to buy weapons en masse. The largest spike in such purchases, according to the FBI, occurred in mid-March, when President Trump declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. The second – at the beginning of June, in the midst of protests for racial equality in the USA. The third took place during the presidential election, and the fourth is being observed after the January events in the US Capitol.
In total, the FBI reported 4.7 million requests in March, a 20-year high.
For 40% of buyers at the beginning of 2020, this was the first weapon. At the same time, last year half of all buyers were women, 20% each – African Americans and people of Latin American origin, writes CNN.
In California alone, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, 1.26 million guns were purchased last year, which is 56% more than in 2019. The count is based on the number of requests to the FBI to check personal data, because a separate database on the number of purchased or there are no weapons sold, and the real figures may be higher, because they do not include purchases made outside the store, which, according to the publication, account for about 13% of the total circulation of weapons.
Although Democrats now hold the White House and hold a slim lead in the Senate and House of Representatives, their recent initiative to increase background checks for handguns and rifles has failed to become law.
The changes also face significant opposition from Republicans, and a number of conservative states have recently weakened local gun laws. In total, about 20 states in the US do not require background checks for people who want to purchase a handgun or rifle. Recently, Texas, Iowa, and Montana joined this list, officials in Tennessee and Utah advocate similar initiatives.
As “Voice of America” previously reported, the Americans own 45% of all the world’s weapons that are owned by the civilian population. There are 120 rifles per 100 US residents. In addition, America is the country with the highest death rate due to firearms. In 2019, almost 40,000 people were killed by bullets.
At the same time, statistically, after high-profile cases of mass shooting, the population only buys weapons more actively, fearing that they will be banned.
The right to own a gun is enshrined in the US Constitution, and even if Congress tightens gun control, the Supreme Court could declare the legislation unconstitutional, where 6 out of 9 justices currently hold conservative views. The lobby of the defenders of the rights of gun owners is also powerful.
According to experts, such mass arming of the population carries significant risks, in particular, an increase in violence with the use of firearms, suicides and accidents due to careless handling of weapons by both adults and children. Also, some law enforcement officers say that weapons cannot always protect if they are in inexperienced hands, and, for example, pepper spray can be more effective.