Michigan Background Checks Fall as Firearms Ownership Stays Steady

FBI background checks for firearm sales in Michigan have steadily fallen since December 2016, following the election of Donald Trump. Sales were down 20 percent overall in the first three months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, according to FBI data and background checks for handguns in the Great Lake State were down 25 percent.

This is in marked contrast to the 4-year period from December 2012 until December 2016, when FBI background checks for handguns in Michigan increased eight-fold, to 171,588. That increase was largely attributed to calls by then-President Barrack Obama for stricter gun control following the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook.

The prospect of Hillary Clinton winning the election further drove Michigan sales of firearms and ammunition throughout most of 2016. Recent numbers confirm that 2016 was record year for background checks for gun purchases and permits.

That recent increase in firearm sales reversed the downward trend of sales since 2000.

Federal background checks for long-gun purchases have fallen since 1999, the first full year federal background checks were required under the Brady Bill, when 182,542 were reported. By 2015, only 129,089 background checks for long-gun purchases were reported.

Moreover, Michigan, with a proud tradition of deer hunting so thoroughly ingrained in its culture that opening day for rifle season is a state holiday, still only tied for 31st in gun ownership according to a study conducted in July 2015 in the Injury Prevention Journal, when an estimated 29 percent of Michigan adults owned a gun in October 2013.

More recently, Michigan, the nation’s ninth most-populous state, ranked 16th in federal background checks performed in the first quarter of 2017.

Again, hunting may show where the guns are. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, there were little more than 700,000 individuals who purchased one or more hunting licenses in 2015. Ontonagon County in the state’s Upper Peninsula led the way with 28 percent of residents holding a hunting license, while Wayne County, which includes Detroit, had only 2 percent by contrast.

One upward trend in Michigan has been the number of concealed pistol licenses. The number of CPL holders climbed from 497,016 in December 2015 to 608, 390 active licenses as of April 3 of this year — a 22-percent increase in just 16 months. — by Peter Suciu, contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog

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