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FBI data show record number of firearm-related background checks in May
The FBI saw a record number of firearm-related background check queries in May for the third consecutive month, following the Parkland, Florida, massacre. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

FBI data show record number of firearm-related background checks in May

The number of firearm background checks reached a third consecutive monthly record high last month, an FBI report released Monday showed, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The record numbers come after the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which ignited one of the fiercest gun control debates the country has ever seen.

What are the details?

The data show the FBI processed 2,002,992 requests for background checks on firearm-related purchases in May through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The previously monthly record for May was 1,942,677 NICS requests.

May's record comes after April's numbers set a monthly record for April, with 2,233,213 NICS checks, and March's numbers set a monthly record for March with 2,767,699 NICS queries.

While the number of NICS checks is a strong indicator of firearm sales, the numbers do not represent the actual number of sales, which could be higher or lower.

Federal law mandates that licensed firearms dealers complete an NICS check on all potential buyers before completing a transaction. However, the law requires only one NICS check per buyer, meaning May's sales could be higher.

On the other hand, many states use the NICS system to process weapons permits, which could inflate the number of queries, the Free Beacon noted.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which adjusts the monthly NICS report to account for permit checks, there were about 905,000 firearm purchases last month, compared to nearly 1 million in May 2017.

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