Gun sales, as approximated by background checks, surged in 2020 to 39,695,315 just as the COVID-19 pandemic began. They have declined each year since, to 38,876,673 in 2021 and to 31,596,646 in 2022. Still, these numbers remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System publishes a monthly list of how many firearm background checks are conducted on potential gun buyers. Nearly everyone put through this system qualifies. Of the more than 400 million checks conducted since November 1998, there have only been 2.1 million denials. More than half of those who are denied have criminal records.

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