June 2016 saw the most FBI gun background checks of any June since the current system went into effect.
The agency reported on Sunday that it processed more than 2.1 million gun related checks in June, an increase of more than 600,000 over the previous record set last year. That makes June the 14th month in a row to see a new background check record, including every month of 2016. This year is on pace to break 2015's record for most checks in a year.
Last month's numbers are still lower than the first four months of the year, which tracks with standard seasonal lulls in sales for the industry. However, June's numbers are higher than May’s—a departure from previous years when June had traditionally seen the fewest checks of any month.
June's record comes as gun and ammunition dealers have seen spikes in sales following the deadly terror attack in Orlando, Florida and a subsequent push for new gun control measures in the House and Senate. Some companies saw a five-fold increase in sales during the weeks following the attack and legislative push.
"Yes, we have seen a dramatic spike in sales volume (around five times normal levels) especially in the .223/5.56 caliber and to a lesser extent 9mm, .45 ACP, and .308 but the increase is definitely across the board," Scott Blick, managing partner at Ammunition Depot, told the Washington Free Beacon in June.
The number of checks run through the FBI’ National Instant Criminal Background Check System is considered on of the strongest indicator of how many gun sales were completed in a given month, since nearly every sale made through a federally licensed dealer must include a check. However, the number is not an exact representation of how many gun sales are conducted. Most states do not require the checks on sales between private parties on the secondary market, and some checks can represent more than one sale to the same individual.
"Based on varying state laws and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale," the FBI said in their report.
Gun rights activists have attributed the 14 month sales spike mostly to efforts by leading Democrats like President Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to institute new gun control measures. Both have publicly supported the idea of instituting an Australian-style gun confiscation scheme in the United States and both have criticized the Supreme Court's efforts to protect gun rights.
June saw perhaps the strongest push for new gun control since 2012 with four different bills seeing votes in the Senate and a Democratic sit in taking place on the House floor. Though none of the Senate measures managed to garner the necessary votes to pass, the House is expected to vote on another plan soon.