Background checks for permits in Minnesota doubled in January, according to data analyzed from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI’s records for the first month of the year show the state processed 66,895 permit checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — double the amount tallied in December and up 139 percent over last year.
Minnesota requires federal background checks for its concealed weapons permit and transferee permit, the latter of which allows residents to buy a hand gun from a dealer. No purchase permits are required for rifles or shotguns.
Jill Oliveira, public information officer for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said Wednesday concealed weapons permit holders can buy firearms without a transferee permit. The local sheriff who authorized the concealed permit must run a new background check each year to determine the permit holder’s continued eligibility, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The January surge continues a year-long uptick in permits to carry statewide, Minnesota Public Radio News reported Wednesday.
Sheriff’s departments throughout Minnesota issued 71,156 carry permits last year, according to the bureau’s annual permit to carry report. In past reports, the agency attributed spikes to the five-year renewal period for its carry permit required under the 2003 Personal Protection Act, MPR News reports. The next renewal period is in 2018.
Meanwhile, Minnesota gun dealers said last month sales continue booming as first time buyers and women shop for handguns.
Bob Ellis, a self-described gun enthusiast, told CBS Minnesota he thought concerns over crime spurred the uptick in background checks, a known proxy for gun sales.
“People are scared, people are breaking into homes, there is just a lot of crime around and people want to be able to protect themselves,” he said.
Dean Capra, owner of Capra’s Outdoors Sporting Goods in Blaine, Minnesota, gave CBS reporters a different theory. “A lot of people are just getting them to have them, so they will have them if anything changes or laws change,” he said.
The state’s background check totals for handguns and long guns, however, don’t mirror the surge for permits, according to FBI data. Instead, checks processed for both categories plunged 24 percent and 48 percent, respectively, from December — generally recognized as one of the bestselling seasons for firearms.
The tumble coincides with what industry analysts believe will be a downturn in sales under the new pro-Second Amendment presidential administration.
Gun stocks dropped just one day after President Trump’s electoral victory. Sturm, Ruger & Company has seen share prices decline 20 percent since November, and Smith & Wesson – now American Outdoor Brands Corp – has seen a 26 percent drop in the same period, Guns.com previously reported.