Despite NJ legislators cracking down on gun ownership, gun sales throughout the state actually increased last year.
Federal data indicates that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed more than 120,000 background checks in New Jersey last year. The federal government requires the background checks anytime a person attempts to purchase a firearm.
The total number of automatic background checks in New Jersey last year represented a significant increase over the totals in previous years. There were less than 86,000 background checks in 2012 and just over 60,000 background checks the year before that.
According to an executive director with the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, the increase in background checks suggests that gun owners are responding to legislative attacks by purchasing firearms while they still can. The advocacy group believes that legislators who want to crack down on law-abiding gun owners should instead devote their efforts to stopping criminals who attempt to illegally possess weapons.
Although the recent numbers are surprising, it should be pointed out that background checks do not account for all gun sales; they are triggered only for public sales of guns. This means that we still lack access to verifiable data on the total number of private gun sales in New Jersey last year. Beyond that, the number of automatic background checks does not necessarily equal the total number of gun purchases because not everyone who undergoes a background check decides to purchase a gun.
It must also be pointed out that New Jersey still ranks near the bottom among states in gun ownership.
To learn more, see the NJ.com article entitled “Gun Background Checks Spiked in 2013 as Jersey Debated Gun Control.“