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Gun sales surge during pandemic, with July seeing record background checks

Gun sales surge during pandemic, with July seeing record background checks
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Gun sales in the country have surged in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic, with last month seeing a record number of background checks for the month of July, CNN reported on Monday, citing recent data released from the FBI.

The new figures show that more than 3.63 million firearm background checks were carried out by the agency last month, a number CNN reports is the third highest on record.

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The FBI completed its highest number of firearm background checks the month before, according to CNN, 3.93 million, surpassing what was briefly a record from March at 3.74 million background checks.

From March to July, the agency completed a total of just over 17.3 million, the new data shows. The agency had completed about 11.7 million background checks over the same five-month span last year. 

The FBI has been performing background checks on potential gun buyers through its National Instant Criminal Background Check System since its launch in 1998. The system carries out the checks, which looks at the buyer’s criminal history and other qualifications required for eligibility, when a person attempts to purchase a firearm from a seller with federal firearms licenses.

The sales surge comes as the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic as well as ongoing protests against racism and police brutality following the police killings of multiple African Americans.