Background checks related to handgun sales increased over 2,300% during July

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 9:25 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Data from the FBI shows there was more than a 2,000% increase in background checks related to handgun purchases in July in Iowa, which was the first month Iowans can buy a handgun without a permit under new state law.

Other states have passed similar laws, which advocates refer to as “constitutional carry.” This allows people to buy and carry a handgun without a permit from the local county sheriff’s office. The number of background checks might be even higher because a person buying multiple firearms only needs one background check.

Bob Ducharme, who owns Tactical Creations in Vinton, said he saw an increase in sales during July, but it wasn’t a significant jump. He said he was doing a lot more business in 2020, when the FBI completed a record number of background checks related to gun sales.

Ducharme said he wasn’t seeing a significant increase in handgun sales. Even though, the FBI did 2,351% more background checks in relation to handgun sales than the previous month. He said he was having to wait on the phone longer for federal background checks, so he’s charging those people $25 to compensate the staff time he’s losing.

”Selling guns, there’s ton of paperwork, just tons of paperwork,” Ducharme said. “We’re closed Sunday and Mondays, half the time I’m here making sure everything is done.”

Sheriffs from Linn and Dubuque county spoke with us before the law stated on July 1. Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy, who is a Democrat, said in March he was concerned with private sellers having to ensure people buying a weapon are legally allowed to have a gun.

“There are so many nuances with the background checks that most people are not really aware of,” Kennedy said. “Oftentimes we have to go and have some of these cases reviewed by attorneys just to determine whether or not the people are actually qualified to carry.”

Kennedy said on Tuesday that he’s receiving significantly fewer applications for permits, which would still be needed for carrying a weapon in other states. He said this makes it difficult to understand how many firearms are in Dubuque county.

“So they can just go through the seller to get approval,” Kennedy said. “So, it makes it difficult for us to understand how many firearms are out there. “

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner, who is a Democrat, said his carry permit applications have decreased slightly since the new law was created. He said he believes people want permits, so they can continue carrying out of state.

Gardner said, in an email, he has concerns about deputies being able to prove people are allowed to carry a weapon.

“I still have concerns about deputies being able to verify if a person found with a weapon in the middle of the night is legally authorized to carry the weapon,” Gardner wrote.

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