Gun ownership increases 80%

Emma Weaver, Food Editor

This past January, Americans bought over two million guns, an 80 percent spike from last year and the third- highest record of gun sales.

“I know that there are probably several reasons why people would purchase a gun. But if I had to answer yes or no, whether it was good or not. I just always favor people that are responsible. That’s always going to be my position as a police officer if you are purchasing, using, and handling any type of weapon,” said Officer Dean Chitwood, who’s been an officer for nine years and his first year as a School Resource Officer.

Surge in Gun Sales

Background checks, and sales of firearms and ammunition, have been skyrocketing for months. The surge is in line with the record pace set in 2020. According to the Washington Post, nearly 23 million firearms were bought, representing a 64 percent jump year over year.

“I have owned a gun in my name since I turned 18 in January. My house has had guns in it since I was born, but they have always been properly put in a safe,” said Coleman Graves, who’s been shooting for roughly 12 years.

The state with the most sales in January was Illinois, with 1,002,118 guns sold. That is 24% of national sales for the month; however, the state has slightly less than 4% of the national population. The same pattern holds for the state with the second-highest gun sales in Kentucky reaching 421,790, just over 10% of the national total. In contrast, Arizona sold 60,548 guns in January.

“In my opinion, an increase in gun sales is a good thing since

more people are exercising their U.S citizens. I hope that firearm safety and knowledge can spread more throughout America,” said Graves.

USA Today predicts that gun sales in America will reach almost 50 million in 2021. It is too early to say whether the trend will continue. However, it is nearly assured that 2021 will set another annual record.

“Seniors are getting to the point where they can be of legal age of possessing a firearm. I educate them about our state’s laws and what’s expected of them as legal and responsible gun owners,” said Chitwood.

Increase in Crime

The most concerning aspect about the surge of gun sales is that according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), an individual between18and21mayacquirea handgun in the state they reside in.

“I have a gun for a few reasons. One: hunting, any gun can be used for hunting no matter how anyone put it. Two: protection, what am I going to do when someone breaks into my house. Three: responsibility, when someone owns a gun, it teaches them how to use, manage and maintain it,” said Nathan Ring, who’s been shooting for many years.

According to the Times magazine, gun violence and gun crime, in particular, rose drastically, with over 19,000 people killed in shootings and firearm-related incidents in 2020. That’s the highest death toll in over 20 years, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), an online site that collects gun violence data, and the Britannia Group’s non- partisan site