Politics & Policy

FBI Sees Background-Check Hike in February

(Jim Bourg/Reuters)
Governor Rick Scott has proposed stricter background checks in Florida.

February saw 300,000 more background checks for individuals trying to purchase a gun in February than in the longer month of January.

The FBI documented the hike, which comes as the national conversation shifted to gun control again after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine’s Day.

The young, mentally ill gunman who killed 17 students and teachers was able to buy several guns legally, including the one he brought to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

This February’s number of background checks is still lower than this time last year, which saw 1,600 more.

Background checks have more or less risen since 1999 but saw a drop last year after 2016 had a very high number of checks, 27.5 million.

Student survivors of the shooting last month and the families of the victims have leveraged a national movement for gun control at the state and federal levels. The students plan to march on Washington, D.C., on March 24.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida has proposed several reforms, including stricter background checks for gun purchases to prevent the mentally ill from getting their hands on guns.

Scott’s proposal will make it “virtually impossible” for a person with mental-health issues to purchase a firearm, the governor said.

“The problem is not the waiting period, the problem is the information out there in the background screening to help them,” Scott said. “The background check did not help. My focus is making sure that we have laws so these individuals do not have access to guns.”

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