PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Firearm and ammunition vendors across Maine have seen sales fluctuate with current events before, but nothing has paralleled the uptick they have seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 70,244 people have attempted to purchase firearms in Maine from March through August, up from 41,625 in the same six-month period in 2019, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data. Sales of rifles and shotguns have increased, but the biggest rise in demand is for handguns. A total of 35,702 people attempted to purchase them in Maine from March to August, nearly double the same time period last year.
The statistics reflect the number of background checks submitted to the FBI, not the total guns sold as a result of those submissions.
While gun sales have experienced a nationwide rise, Maine’s surge is higher than the 45 percent national increase during the March-August period. The FBI data covers all firearms purchases from…