BRISTOL, VA (WJHL)- FBI Statistics show that the number of background checks for gun purchases in Virginia soared in December 2019.
This was right before the Virginia General Assembly convened for the 2020 session.
Now, just because there was a rise in background checks does not mean a firearm was sold in each case.
However, gun store employees say they’ve seen more gun sales since the holidays and since new legislation was introduced the beginning of the year in Virginia.
“The background check that we do is a two part. We have one that goes to the state and one that goes to the federal. Basically what we do is we take all your information down, fill that out, and we’ll fill it out in the data base in the system with Virginia State Police,” said Jon’s Gun store employee, Isaac Carver.
According to the FBI, Statistics representing the number of state-by-state firearm background checks given through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Virginia’s firearm background check have significantly increased.
Numbers show it went from 52,942 in December 2018 to 76,599 in December 2019.
“Right after Christmas, first of the year, up until now, we’ve been- it’s been a revolving door. It’s been busy. People have been coming in buying. A lot of people trying to make their opinions known about what’s going on in the government and everything,” said Carver.
Some of those concerns include the proposed ‘Red Flag Laws’ where law enforcement could temporary remove firearms from a person who may present a danger to themselves or others.
“It’s our Constitutional right to own guns, and I don’t think it’s right what they’re trying to do to us,” said Virginia resident and gun owner, Kenneth Phillips.
Over in Tennessee, gun store owners say they’re also seeing those numbers in gun sales increase.
“January is usually a slower period for us. It allows us to rebuild our stock back up from December, but this year we can’t get caught up. It’s never been this way ever,” said co-owner of Tri-Cities Gun Depot, Tommy Isaacs.
He said a lot of his costumers are from Virginia.
“People’s really scared on the Virginia thing they don’t know if it’s going to go from state to state, and it’s really driving up sales,” Isaacs explained.
Some Virginia legislators are proposing limited handgun purchases to once a month and universal background checks on gun purchases.
Those firearm dealers say they’re sure they will continue to see numbers grow in background checks and firearm sales as firearm restrictions increase.
The total number of background checks in the state of Virginia reported by the FBI in 2019 was 512,766.
You can find the numbers to all 50 states by clicking here.