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Gun purchases spike in Illinois amid pandemic, civil unrest

For FOID cards in particular, the number of applications has increased by 167% from a previous benchmark in 2017.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Data shows Illinois residents shopped for more guns and applied for firearm permits more than any other time in the state’s history as the COVID-19 pandemic raged and Chicago dealt with civil unrest.

Illinois State Police statistics show there have been more than 500,000 serious inquiries about gun purchases through November. That is a 45% increase from 2019. 

The department also received 445,945 applications for Firearm Owners Identification cards, a 167% increase from 166,649 applications in 2017.

 Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly told the Chicago Tribune the increases were a reflection on the unease and tension seen in the state and across the country. 

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