16:14 GMT30 May 2020
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    Previously the highest number of checks was made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December 2015 and stood at more than 3.3 million, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data shows.

    According to the NICS's latest report, the FBI made 3.7 million gun background checks in March, more than any month previously reported.

    The number of checks has increased by more than 33 percent since February when nearly 2.8 million gun background checks were performed.

    March saw five of the top 10 days with the highest number of gun checks since the launch of NICS in 1998, the System data reveals. A record number of gun background checks, more than 210,000, were made on Friday.

    The reason for an increase in gun buying is often mass social uncertainty, Wake Forest sociology professor David Yamane believes, as quoted by Axios news outlet.

    According to the news outlet, the number of firearm and ammunition purchases has mostly increased in areas severely impacted by COVID-19, such as in Washington state, California and New York.

    The reports from different US states, where a stay-at-home order has been declared, shows that people rushed to local gun stores to buy ammunition.

    "We're working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, just to keep up with the public at the door", David Schwartz, who owns a Burbank Ammo & Guns store near Los Angeles, said, as quoted by Newsweek. “We’ve seen a spike the last few days in the purchase of ammunition, particularly for rounds for handguns (9 mm and .45 caliber) along with .22 caliber for long rifles, and 12 and 20-gauge shotgun shells – both slugs and shot”, David Steinberg, manager of the sporting goods department in Syracuse, added, as quoted by local NYS media. According to media in Florida, more than 10,000 locals filed paperwork to get a background check, with big queues seen in front of gun stores.

    The Trump administration has included gun stores in its guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce, which is allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    As of 1 April, the total number of new coronavirus cases in the US has reached 186,101, the death toll has passed 3,603, the Centres for disease control and Prevention data shows. The US government expects these numbers to increase.

    FBI, firearms, United States
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