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Montana Gun Sales Soar In May

Pistol stock photo.

Gun and ammunition sales are surging nationally, and Montana is no exception. According to the FBI there were over 3 million background checks last month, the highest for any May on record.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check system has logged over 15 million checks so far this year, putting 2020 on track to break last year’s high of 28 million.

“I would say at least two-thirds of the record number of firearms sold in the last 60 days are first-time gun owners/gun purchasers,” said James Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is owner and general manager of Missoula’s Selway Armory. He said customers mention several factors, including the coronavirus pandemic and the growing social unrest following the alleged murder of George Floyd.

“People are concerned about their safety, you know?,” Zimmerman said. “They feel that, as we’ve seen with these riots, the government cannot always protect you.”

The store owner said 9 mm pistols are among the most popular firearms available. He predicts no end in sight to the strong demand for the remainder of the year.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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