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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Gun Sales Up During The Pandemic And So Are Homicides

Keith Srakocic
The Remington name is seen etched on a model 870 shotgun.

Americans are on a gun-buying spree. Sales spiked during the first months of the pandemic, according to data from the FBI's background check system. In Ohio, the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System recorded its second-highest statewide tally since 1998.

At the same time, homicides are up nationwide. Cities including New York and Chicago have reported a spike in violent crime. Here in Cincinnati, we are on pace for a record number of homicides this year. Now, some researchers see a link.

A team of researchers led by Julia Schleimer at the University of California, Davis and the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center found a massive increase in gun-buying during the first half of the year. They analyzed fatal and non-fatal firearm injury data from January 2018 through May 2020, and compared it with the 2.1 million extra firearms purchased earlier in 2020. They estimated gun violence increased nearly 8% from March through May because of gun-buying.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the study is University of California, Davis Violence Prevention Research Program Research Data Analyst Julia Schleimer.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.