I-Team: FBI data reveals record-breaking spike in gun background checks, clear ties to COVID-19

A dramatic spike in firearm background checks are likely tied to COVID-19, according to an ABC7 I-Team analysis of FBI data.

The data released Wednesday shows a record-breaking 3.7 million background checks were performed in March for gun purchases across the U.S.

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To put it in perspective, the last jump to mirror that was in December of 2015 ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

California saw a 72-percent increase in firearm background checks since February 2020.

The surge impacting local Bay Area gun shops who are selling out their inventory.

"We're out of nearly everything, you name it, we ain't got it,"said Travis Morgan, owner of a Dublin-based gun store.

In his 20 years operating Guns, Fishing, & Other Stuff, Morgan said he's never seen a spike in gun sales like this one.

"We sell more to a first-time buyer than we do to our normal crowd," he said.

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While Morgan is accustomed to spikes ahead of major elections, he's confident this surge is linked to COVID-19.

"People are worried... what's going to happen being locked down, staying at home," Morgan said.

The FBI data backs up his theory. According to the report, the number of gun background checks broke records in mid-March. This was right around the same time shelter-in-place orders prompted mass hoarding of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

"I got enough toilet paper, waters, and soups," said Henry Granado, waiting in a long line in front of the Dublin gun store. "I just need ammunition, a lot of it."

Granado and his brother said the fear of COVID-19 has urged them to get more protection.

"People are getting out of hand, you can never be too safe and protect your family," Granado said.

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