<p><img src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/60bb164fe459cb0018a2c5d2-2400/Cass Tippit : Shutterstock.com.jpg" border="0" alt="Walmart guns" data-mce-source="Cass Tippit/Shutterstock.com"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>The Federal Bureau of Investigations <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/nics_firearm_checks_-_month_year.pdf/view">reported close to 4.7 million background checks</a> for new gun purchases in March, the largest on record since the FBI began tracking them 20 years ago, revealing a record number of firearms sales in the US. </p><p>The figure is a 77% increase compared to March 2019. The agency conducted over a million more background checks in March 2021 compared to March 2020, which also saw a record number of gun sales. </p><p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/us/coronavirus-gun-buyers.html">The New York Times</a> previously reported in March 2020, a record number of Americans were buying guns due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. </p><p>"We attribute it mainly to the virus scare," Larry Hyatt, who owns a gun store in North Carolina and saw a record number of sales at the time told the Times. </p><p>Hyatt told The Times he's seen similar influxes of people buying guns in the past. </p><p>"People have a little lack of confidence that if something big and bad happens, that 911 might not work. We saw it with Katrina," Hyatt said. "People haven't forgotten that a disaster happened, and the government didn't come."</p><p>Months with the highest number of FBI background checks like March, June, July, and December show months where there was political or social unrest. </p><p><a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/04/us/us-gun-sales-surge/index.html">CNN</a> reported there's a record number of first-time gun buyers, like Robin Armstrong who told the outlet the current instability in the country made her want to buy firearms. </p><p>"We've also seen, in times of civil unrest, that we see people go out and say that they need to protect themselves," Jack McDevitt, a criminology professor and the director of the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University told CNN. "So they're going to buy guns to protect themselves."</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/fbi-reported-47-million-background-checks-gun-purchases-march-2021-6#comments">Join the conversation about this story »</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/scorpion-venom-most-expensive-liquid-in-the-world-2018-8">Why scorpion venom is the most expensive liquid in the world</a></p> Click here to read full news..