Gun background checks reaches record numbers in March 2021, FBI reports

Gun background checks have surged nationwide in March of 2021, according to data from the FBI.

According to new numbers released by the FBI on Thursday, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) initiated more than 4.6 million firearm background checks last month alone. The previous record was set in March of 2020 with NICS conducted more than 4.3 million firearm background checks, which also happened to be the time when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.

The record-breaking figures come just weeks after the U.S. House made a new push to expand background checks for gun sales. On March 11, the House passed two bills to require background checks on all firearms sales and transfers and to allow an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: House passes bill to expand background checks for gun sales

Below is a month-by-month breakdown of gun background checks conducted across the country:

The FBI also released the top-10 highest days that NICS initiated background checks since 1998. In that data, six of those top-10 dates happened to be during March 2021. St. Patrick's Day 2021 saw the highest number of gun background checks with 236,295. 

As for the top-10 of highest weeks, NICS conducted 1,218,002 background checks from Mar. 15 to Mar. 21, a record since federal investigators started keeping track in 1998. Between Mar. 22 and Mar. 28, NICS saw more than 1.08 million background checks, which was the fourth-highest single week recorded.

Here's the top-10 of highest days and weeks of gun background checks conducted:

On a state level, NICS conducted a whopping 143,749 gun background checks last month alone across California. However, Mar. 2021 did not set a single-month record for the state's gun background checks as last year in March of 2020, more than 164,000 gun background checks were initiated in California.

The state's single-month high was set in December of 2016, as NICS saw 298,161 gun background checks being initiated in California.

Below is a state-by-state breakdown of the gun background checks:

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