Report: Colorado gun sales decline for third straight year

DENVER (AP) — Research shows gun sales in Colorado have dropped for the third consecutive year, and experts suspect a correlation to which political party is leading the country.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted 335,370 backgrounds checks in 2019, a 1.4% decrease compared to the year before, the Denver Post reported.

The state does not track the number of firearms sold, so background checks that are performed ahead of gun sales are used to calculate totals instead, department officials said.

Department data has shown about 98% of background checks were approved and that denials were due to assault or drug records by potential gun buyers.

Data suggests sales tend to increase under Democratic presidents and decrease under Republican leadership, experts said.

“When Obama was elected, sure enough gun sales went up,” said Eileen McCarron, president of Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action group that advocates against gun violence. “But they didn’t just spike — they went up and stayed up.”

Data from last year shows the number of gun sales in the state has steadily dropped since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, experts said.

“It depends on who the Democratic nominee is,” said David Kopel, a constitutional law professor at the University of Denver.

If any Democrat wins the White House and the Senate also flips to Democratic control, McCarron said, “there will be a strong surge in purchases.”

Legislation at the state and federal levels can also affect sales, experts said.