Do elections impact gun sales in Texas?

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Friday, October 9, 2020
What you need to know about Texas gun laws
What you need to know about Texas gun laws

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gun laws and gun control have been one of the many hot topics in politics. With the presidential election approaching, could there be a trend every two years, not just in the conversation but an increase in the number of background checks for gun sales?

In 2020, federal background checks for gun sales in the State of Texas were up 92% in March while in the midst of the pandemic compared to February, according to FBI data released on April 1. Texas saw 274,211 background checks in March compared to 142,928 in February.

Nationwide, the data released also showed there were 3.7 million background checks for gun purchases in March across the U.S. It's the highest number under the background check program ever, dating back to late 1998.

Now, new data released showed that following the increase in March, there was a decrease in background checks for guns in April (197,343) and May (179,192) but another spike in June (227,232). In the months leading to this year's election, not including October, data shows that background checks decreased from 213,969 in July, to 188,091 in August and 178,136 in September.

With the exception of the months following the pandemic, background checks in September were still the highest they've been since December 2017.

Across the country, in September, there were 2.8 million checks for purchases. Data also showed that five states saw more than double the number of background checks in the same month last year and 31 states saw an increase of more than 50% from the same month last year.

In 2019, a non-election year, background checks were not as high. Texas had 133,647 background checks in August; 121,718 checks in September, and 121,299 in October.

Take a look at background checks in previous years dating all the way back to 2015.

In 2018, we saw nationwide at least 1.8 million background checks in September before the midterm elections.

Gun control was one of the major topics surrounding the 2018 U.S. Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke. In Texas, there were about 121,366 background checks, which were about 13,361 less than in August, where the state had 134,727 background checks.

Both candidates discussed gun control during a debate where Cruz tried to say O'Rourke wanted to abolish the Second Amendment. In that debate, the Democrat said it wasn't so. O'Rourke said Texas was ready for a senator who will protect the Second Amendment while imposing small restrictions to save lives and prevent mass shootings.

After that debate, in October, data showed that background checks in Texas went down to 112,356.

In 2017, another non-election year, Texas had 110,946 checks in August, 128,260 in September, and 129,869 in October.

In the month leading up to the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Texas had a 1% increase in background checks between September and August where the numbers went from 124,608 to 126,694. The biggest spike was from September to October where there was a 14% difference.

The video above is from a previous story.


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