NEW YORK CITY — New York City has seen a surge in gun license applications in 2020 compared to this time last year, according to data released by police.
The NYPD, which is responsible for firearm licenses in New York City, said between January 1 and June 28, 2020, 3,830 gun license applications were submitted. During that same period in 2019, only 2,012 applications were submitted — an increase of more than 90%.
The majority of license applications were for handguns. Applicants can also request rifle licenses.
As for the number of applications approved by the NYPD, the data is relatively flat year-over-year.
For the same January to June time period, 1,505 applications were approved in 2020; last year, 1,483 had been approved by June 28.
Historic numbers of background checks to purchase or possess a firearm were conducted in June on the national level.
The FBI reported in early July that 3.9 million checks were done in June in what's a key barometer of gun sales.
Officials have conducted 19 million background checks through the first six months of 2020 — according to The Associated Press, that's more than all of 2012 and each of the years before that.
Gun sales typically surge during election years, given the fear that the next president could increase restrictions on the sales of firearms. But several crises in 2020 have fueled the sale of guns, including the coronavirus pandemic, an economic recession, protests over racial injustice and calls to reduce police funding.
A group representing gunmakers says firearm purchases are a reasonable reaction to the political climate, while gun control advocates say they're concerned first-time buyers don't have enough training.