Just weeks into the nation’s coronavirus lockdown, the FBI reported a startling statistic: The month of March smashed the bureau’s all-time record for processing background checks for gun purchases. Since there is no national database of weapon sales, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is considered to be the best available indicator of how many firearms are being sold. According to the FBI, NICS recorded 3.7 million background checks in March, which was 12 percent higher than its previous record, set in December 2015. In other words, since the pandemic began crippling the country, people have been buying guns at a staggering rate.

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