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Tuesday’s mass shooting in a Texas elementary school – killing 19 children and two adults – followed more than two years of record-setting gun sales across the United States, a trend some researchers have attributed to political upheaval and pandemic-related tensions. held responsible for.

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Annual US firearm sales hit an all-time record of 22.8 million (or 1.9 million per month) in 2020, a 64% jump from the previous year, followed slowly by 19.9 million (or 1.66 million per month) in 2021 has declined. An average of 1.5 million per month in the first four months of this year – still well above pre-pandemic levels. statistics from the research firm Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting.

Small Arms Analysis and Forecasting estimated 5.9 million firearms were sold in the US during the first four months of 2022—down from about 7.7 million in the first four months of 2021, but still well above 2019, when 4.6 million firearms were sold in the same period.

Almost 13.8 million Americans bought a gun for the first time in 2020 and 2021, according to a survey of retailers conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm industry association.

Firearms sales are often associated with crises, according to researchers From Brookings Institution and Wellesley College: Sales initially soared in March 2020 after being announced by then-President Donald Trump. national emergency The researchers said that COVID-19 and the pandemic created widespread economic and public safety fears.

Sales also jumped amid protests over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020, researchers said – an additional 1.4 million Firearms sales spiked in the month following Floyd’s death, as protesters clashed with police in some cases.