The inverse correlation between favoring stricter gun laws and Donald Trump’s share of the 2016 presidential vote is a remarkable .95. That is a staggeringly strong relationship for the social sciences. Indeed, it is effectively a perfect correlation after sampling noise is accounted for. More than abortion, immigration, taxation, race relations, war, or any other cultural or political issue, a person’s approach to gun rights is a better predictor of how he’ll vote than anything else is.
For those in search of a reason for optimism regarding Trump’s chances in November, here’s one:
As the nation has grappled with a global pandemic and images of some rioters causing damage after hijacking peaceful protests demanding racial justice, more and more Americans appear to be arming themselves.
In July 2020, the FBI conducted more than 3.6 million firearm background checks, making it the third highest month on record for checks since the bureau began keeping statistics in 1998, according to new data released on Monday by the agency. By comparison, the bureau conducted just over 2 million checks in July 2019.
Background checks associated with the sale, transfer or permitting of firearms set an all-time record in June when the FBI conducted more than 3.9 million checks, followed by March 2020 when the agency saw 3.7 million checks.
FBI: US firearms sales boom during pandemic lockdown
In July 2020, the FBI conducted more than 3.6 million firearm background checks,
By Josh Campbell,CNN/Mercury news, August 4, 2020
That’s written in a clunky way. To smooth it out, note that June 2020, March 2020, and July 2020 were respectively probably the highest, second-highest, and third-highest months for gun sales in the country’s history. And there’s an aspect to this sustained surge in sales that is different than is usually the case:
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Usually, when gun sales spike it’s because an event such as a school shooting is seen to make gun control laws more likely. And it’s gun enthusiasts, people who already own guns, who are going out and buying more.
But something different is happening now. “We’ve surveyed retailers who tell us that about 40% of their customers are first-time buyers,” Keane says.