FBI processes record number of gun background checks in March
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The FBI completed a record number of background checks for gun sales last month as coronavirus cases and related deaths increase and many Americans have been forced to remain at home.

Figures released by the FBI show that the agency completed 3.7 million background reviews in March, the highest number it has ever reported and a surge of about 850,000 from February.

The news follows reporting from The New York Times that indicates March was one of the best-ever months on record for America's gun sellers, trailing behind the month former President Obama was sworn in following his reelection and the month after the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

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Gun sales continued in March despite orders from many governors around the country for nonessential businesses to close and residents to remain at home unless absolutely necessary. The Trump administration moved this week to declare gun retailers as "critical" infrastructure, encouraging local governments to allow business to continue during the shutdowns.

Some cities, such as Raleigh, N.C., have moved instead to suspend gun background checks for concealed carry permits, or closed gun stores altogether, deeming them nonessential.

Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign, told The Hill earlier this week that local governments should use their own judgment when determining whether to close stores.

"State and local governments are well within their constitutional rights to broadly close businesses in order to prevent the spread and flatten the curve, and they are definitely not required to designate gun industry businesses as ‘essential’ and keep them open," she said. "There is no constitutional right to immediately buy or sell guns, and there is certainly no right to spread coronavirus while buying or selling guns."