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First time gun buyers are bumping firearms sales to unprecedented heights as an ongoing shopping spree for firearms, ammunition and accessories continues.

According to FBI NICS Firearm Background Check data, 2020 has seen more than 32 million background checks for firearms, a record high, and that was even before Black Friday this year.

Black Friday 2019 saw more than 202,000 background checks made, the third most on a single day in U.S. history. The first? More than 210,000 on March 20, 2020, just as fears of a pandemic blasted to the forefront of American minds.

The FBI posted a nearly 8% decline in background checks for 2020 Black Friday gun purchases, even as the coronavirus pandemic, volatile social protests and election-year politics have driven a year-long surge in firearm sales.

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While the 186,645 checks represented a slight drop from 2019, this year's number still marked the fourth-largest one day total on record.

Background checks, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales, but a way to gauge market demand. The number of firearms sold Friday is likely higher because multiple firearms can be included in one transaction by a single buyer. The final number for November 2020 was 3,626,355.

Firearms is a very volatile market, and its ups and downs has to do with what’s going on in the world, as well as politics. So this year was a perfect storm for buying all year long.

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Some gun shops say 90% percent of their recent store purchases are being made by first time gun buyers, with the overwhelming majority of those sales being to women.

Mark Joslyn, a political science professor at the University of Kansas, has penned the book, “The Gun Gap: The Influence of Gun Ownership on Political Behavior and Attitudes,” and it goes deep into the analysis of how gun ownership influences how people vote.

He said there are three main reasons for an increase in gun ownership in 2020 — the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread social justice protests in the summer, and a looming Joe Biden presidential administration. However, Forbes says a Biden administration would actually be good for the gun industry.

Concerns about being “tracked” by the government also seems to be a big concern for gun buyers right now. Gun stores have seen an increase in customers paying in cash, to avoid having the purchase tracked. That fear would appear to be unwarranted, as the federal government does not keep a gun registry that ties gun owners to their firearm.

Concerns about civil unrest and the pandemic led to another problem for gun owners: panic buying of ammunition.

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