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Biden’s threat of gun reform driving surge in purchases: Experts

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A gun show in the United States

President Joe Biden’s pledge to stem the “epidemic” of gun violence is helping drive a historic surge in gun sales across the United States, according to experts and media reports.

Industry officials said that June saw the second-highest gun sales for the month at about 1.3 million. Only June 2020 had a higher number for that month, at 2,177,586.

“To be clear June 2021 is the second-highest June on record,” said Mark Oliva, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, according to the Washington Examiner.

The US recorded more than 22 million gun sales in the first half of 2021, an increase of 15 percentage points from the same period last year.

The rise is particularly worrisome for law enforcement authorities as 2020 had already seen the highest annual gun sales since the US began keeping records.

Industry officials are attributing the surge to the threats from the Biden administration to get tough on gun ownership.

Most recently, the White House announced a slew of initiatives to address gun violence, including an assault weapons ban and universal background checks for gun purchases.

“Background checks for purchasing a firearm are important ... the ban on assault weapons at high-capacity magazines. No one needs to have a weapon that can fire up to 100 rounds,” Biden said late last month as he laid out his plan to address the scourge.

A key focus of the administration’s plan will be to go after gun sellers who violate existing laws.

Oliva, whose group represents gun makers and sellers, also said that Biden’s nomination of David Chipman, a gun control advocate to head the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is helping drive up the gun sales.

“The Biden administration is determined to use every lever within reach to stifle and disrupt the free exercise of Second Amendment rights which begin with the ability of citizens who obey the law to freely approach the gun counter,” he said.

The ATF falls under the Justice Department and is the only federal agency tasked specifically with regulating the gun industry. It has not had a permanent director since 2015.

Over the past year, violent crime has risen dramatically in many cities in the US as the background check system, designed to keep firearms away from potential offenders, fails to keep up with record gun sales.

 


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