ATLANTA — A high school in Santa Clarita, California, a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and a business district in Dayton, Ohio. Those are just a few of the places to experience deadly mass shooting in recent months.
With each of those shootings has come renewed efforts to pass tougher gun laws, and now the Federal Bureau of Investigation says it is handling a new surge in background checks as more people purchase guns.
The FBI doesn't track sales of guns, so its National Instant Criminal Background Check System is a way to gauge what is happening across the country.
For the first time since the FBI started performing background checks in 1998, the number of reviews has remained above two million per month. That’s according to a report in USA Today.
This signals a trend that is expected to continue as we approach the holiday shopping season.
Firearms purchased during that period could lead customers to break the one-year record of 27.5 million background checks.
So what's behind the steady pace and growth?
Analysts believe the numbers show the industry is bouncing out of what's called a "Trump Slump,” a slowing that came after the election of a pro-gun president.
Why could holiday shopping turn 2019 into a record-breaking year?
Believe it or not, Black Friday has traditionally been one of the busiest days for gun-dealers, and that means it is also busy for the FBI employees checking backgrounds, deciding if would-be gun buyers are free to proceed with their purchases.
Two years ago, for example, the FBI received 203,086 background check requests on a black Friday – a single-day record.
The last time the FBI experienced an overall record flood of checks, came in 2016 under the Obama Administration, which was then pushing for gun control legislation.
The FBI is now requesting extra money and employees to handle the workload. Earlier this year the agency asked congress for 40 new positions and $4.2 million to manage the growing number of gun background checks.
It also says it has worked to improve the system, but the number of requests and complex nature of addressing them has forced the FBI to ask for more money to help deal with it all.
The rise in background checks is creating other issues for the FBI as well.
The FBI says it has had to reassign nearly 300 people at different times, which creates backlogs in other areas.