135,000 firearm background checks submitted in Florida this month; more than double last year

Fears about the future may be driving people to buy a record number of guns in Florida.

Sellers and state agencies say folks appear to be stocking up on firearms. The number of Floridians getting background checks so they can buy guns has more than doubled, over last year's applications.

So far this month, data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show more than 135,000 background checks have been processed across the state. That’s more than double the number processed in all of June last year.

The owner of Tampa Tactical Supply, Marna Tracy says she is not surprised. Her inventory hasn't been this low since she opened 10 years ago.

“We have difficulty keeping ammunition in stock,” she said. “Handguns, most desirable handguns are gone as soon as we get them in stock.”

The spike started in March. June is on pace to be another record month for people submitting background checks; a required step before any firearm can be purchased.

“A lot of times gun sales are heavy on election years, but this is different,” said Tracy. “We’re seeing a huge number of new gun owners.”

Just like the rush to buy toilet paper and hand soap, many first-time buyers made purchases as COVID-19 spread and reached pandemic levels.

“With the unrest in the country in addition to the quarantine and shortage of supplies, it makes me a little worried about my family in the months to come in case things get worse. I want to be able to protect my home,” one customer explained.