The arsenal of guns at the side of the Las Vegas killer re-ignites the debate over the number of firearms in America.
KING 5 set out to verify the latest trends: Are more Washingtonians buying guns?
The answer is a resounding “no,” according to the latest FBI data.
While the federal government is legally barred from tracking the number of Americans who own guns, the number of gun sales is public record.
In Washington state, “universal” background checks are the law. That means every gun buyer must undergo an FBI criminal background check before the firearm can be legally acquired.
In 2017, FBI National Instant Check System (NICS) records show that 376,473 criminal background checks were run for Washington state gun purchases through August of this year.
That number is 30 percent fewer than gun purchases in 2016 through August.
March is the month that really stands out in the FBI data. In March of 2016, the FBI ran 126,000 background checks for gun purchases in Washington. In March of 2017, that number dropped by more than half to 58,069 purchases.
Some in the gun industry have dubbed the reduced sales the “Trump Slump.”
With a strong 2nd Amendment president in office, gun buyers do not feel the need to stockpile weapons. They do not fear an onslaught of laws that would ban firearm purchases.
The 2016 presidential election and several high-profile terrorist attacks in 2015 are believed to be the cause of the surge in gun sales nationwide in 2016.
However, Washington state’s 30 percent drop in sales since President Trump took office is much higher than the rest of the nation, which has seen an 11 percent drop in sales, according to some published reports.