FILE - Gun store, gun shop, firearm sales, gun control

(The Center Square) – Gun, ammo sales, and concealed pistol license (CPL) applicants have skyrocketed in Michigan since 2020.

In January 2021, Michigan added 13,891 net CPL holders to reach 717,281 – the most significant one-month change since 2008, when the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners started tracking monthly records.

This continues a national gun-buying spree and subsequent bottlenecks at local registration offices partly caused by COVID-19 restrictions. At the Ingham County Sheriffs Office, the fingerprinting process is booked until late April.

National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) totaled 87,583 background checks in January 2021 for firearms purchases, up from 56,561 during the same month in 2020.

In 2020, the FBI conducted 1.06 million NICS background checks in Michigan, more than doubling the 492,171 completed in 2019.

The same trend applies nationally for gun sales.

Nine of the 10 highest weeks for NICS firearm background checks were in 2020 or 2021.

The highest week on record was March 16, 2020, through March 22, 2020 – the first national recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that week, NICS reported it had conducted more than 1.197 million background checks.

That's 244,000 more background checks in one week than the seventh-highest week in December 2012, when Washington legislators and President Barack Obama publicly discussed gun restrictions after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

From Jan. 11, 2021, through Jan. 17, 2021, 1.08 million background checks were conducted – the second-highest week on record, edging out the third-highest week on record from Jan. 4, 2021, through Jan. 10, 2021, when there were 1.07 million background checks conducted.

Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (SAAF) estimated January 2021 firearm sales at 2.2 million units, a 79% increase from January 2020. However, that’s not the largest increase in recent history.

“January 2021 certainly started off with a sales ‘bang’ due to the turmoil surrounding the confirmation and inauguration of Mr. Biden as the new U.S. President,” SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer said in a statement. “The 79% year-over-year increase, however, was NOT unprecedented – an even higher increase, of just over 100%, was experienced in January 2013, the month Mr. Obama’s second presidential term began.”

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.