Puerto Rico federal background checks recover in November
By Christen Smith
The lingering impacts of Hurricane Maria plague Puerto Rico three months later. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Federal background checks nearly doubled in Puerto Rico last month as the island territory continues its post-storm recovery.
Dealers processed 2,303 applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in November — a 45 percent spike over 2016, the gun industry’s busiest on record, and a 77 percent increase over October.
The industry uses NICS as a barometer of sales, though the measurement isn’t exact. A deeper dive into FBI data reveals applications for handgun transfers comprised the bulk of the checks completed last month, with 1,926 residents submitting applications. Dealers submitted another 257 for long guns, according to federal data.
A review of the last three months, from September through November, shows background checks totaled only two additional over the same time period in 2016. The data suggests the sudden spike accounts for a recovery from disruptions gun dealers may have faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria — a category four storm that devastated the island when it made landfall Sept.20.
Puerto Rico’s gun laws remain some of the strictest in the U.S., with an extensive may-issue concealed carry permitting system that costs upwards of a $1,000