Imagine how many guns Illinois residents might have bought in 2020 if the Illinois State Police hadn’t been dragging its feet on FOID card processing all year long.
Who is buying these guns? A New York Times analysis shows that buyers cut across almost all demographic groups. Gun ownership has continued to be a flashpoint across the country, as the debate about who should own a gun and what kind of guns should be lawful continues, as it has for decades.
The rise in gun sales from 2019 to 2020 is not an anomaly. The number of Gun sales has increased most years since 1999. At the current pace, 2020 sales will reach over 38 million. Sales first topped 25 million in 2016, 20 million in 2013, 15 million in 2011, and 10 million in 2006. The first full year the FBI kept data was 1999 when sales were 9,138,123.
The rate of gun sales is by no means uniform from state to state, nor is the growth level. Among all states, Illinois has posted the highest sales through November, by far, at 6,625,082. That is almost 19% of U.S. gun sales in 2020, although the state has less than 4% of the nation’s population. By a similar measure, sales in California this year are relatively low at 1,465,612, which is 4% of the national figure. Almost 12% of Americans live in California.
— Douglas A. McIntyre in People In This State Bought More Than 6 Million Guns In 2020