Pennsylvania Sets Record for Firearm Background Checks

Is Pennsylvania a conservative or liberal state?

Pennsylvania residents have waffled back and forth for the past 20 years as if they are searching for answers but not finding them. In 1994, Pennsylvania voters elected a Republican governor. He was succeeded by another Republican governor who was replaced by a Democrat in the 2002 election. He remained in office until being replaced with a Republican in the 2010 election. He was in turn replaced by another Democrat in the 2014 election.

In the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Pennsylvania voters went with the Democrats by margins ranging from 10.4% to only 2.5%. However, in the 2016 presidential election, they went Republican by the narrow margin of only 0.7%.

Currently, the Pennsylvania state legislature has a significant Republican majority in both the Senate and House. One has to wonder why the voters of the Keystone State keep switching back and forth and why they currently have a GOP led legislature and a Democrat as governor.

I once heard a political analyst say that one way to tell the political leaning of any state was too look at their gun sales. They argued that many Democrats are anti-gun and tend to buy fewer firearms whereas Republicans are pro-gun and tend to purchase more firearms than Democrats.

If that’s true, the indications are that Pennsylvania voters are becoming more Republican than their Democrat governor would like to admit, as proven by a PA news outlet, the Lehigh Valley Live:

“Pennsylvania set a record in 2016 for background checks related to firearms, state police statistics show.”

“In use since July 1998, the Pennsylvania Instant Check System reviewed nearly 1.14 million requests to purchase or privately transfer a firearm or obtain a license to carry firearms. That’s up 15 percent from 989,298 in 2015, which had marked the system’s third-highest volume year behind 2013 (1.13 million) and 2012 (1.03 million).”

Note that the other record years, 2012 and 2013 took place with a Republican governor. Although I’ve also heard the opposite argument made about high gun sales take place under Democratic control as seen by the record sales set under the administration of Barack Obama.

Proof for this argument was reported a month ago:

“From all indications, 2016 will not only exceed 2015 in the record of background checks, but will smash it by a significant number. According to one report:

Of course, as of 8 December we don’t have final data for even the FBI NICS, the most rapidly reporting of these numbers, so how can we say there’s a record?

Well, the FBI NICS numbers for the first eleven months of 2016 are in, and the total exceeds 2015’s record number (23,141,970, in case it was not at the tip of your tongue. That was over 2 million higher than 2014 or 2013). FBI’s 2016 year to date is 24,767,514, and there’s still a month — the biggest sales month — to go.

Normally, we run a naïve forecast throughout the year. It takes no account of the heavy seasonality in gun sales and NICS checks, and simply takes an average of all the months of this year that have reported so far, and “assumes” that average will be the result for still-unreported months. On this metric, we have known for months that 2016 would be a record; for example, once we got our hands on September’s numbers, we were forecasting 26.5 million NICS for the year, conservatively (conservatively because November and December are historically the peak months), even though under 20 million NICS were complete at the time. Our new forecast for 2016 is 27,019,106. Given that the arithmetic used creates false precision, you read it here first: NICS checks for 2016 will probably exceed 27 million.

But they’ve already set a record of 24,767,514. That’s almost double the last year of the Bush presidency (2008).”

If you ask me to analyze what’s happening, then I would say that millions of Americans, Republicans and Democrats, value their right to own guns and in panic bought guns for fear of what Obama might do. Regardless, it seems that some Pennsylvania residents are arming themselves for the worst while at the same time getting smarter and more protective of their rights by voting Republican. Perhaps Gov. Tom Wolf  should be getting worried about a re-election bid.

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