(WTVO) — Illinois is expected to lead the country in 2022 for the number of firearm background checks connected.

According to the FBI statistics, Illinois processed nearly 4 million background checks between January and November of this year.

Experts say the influx in background checks is in direct response to events that unfolded in 2020.

“It’s usually during overall periods of uncertainty, so during COVID, the George Floyd riots,” U.S. LawShield President Kirk Evans told The Center Square, adding that the number of background inquiries doesn’t always equate to a corresponding number of gun purchases.

Last year, there were 8.4 million background checks in Illinois. Officials say there are still about 4 million left to process before the end of 2022.

Evans says Illinois will likely see even more background checks in 2023 after the SAFE-T Act goes into effect Jan. 1.

“I certainly expect if there are a number of people who see what they perceive to be folks getting out of jail after having committed a crime, that there’d be a rise in that uncertainty and there’d be a rise in gun ownership,” Evans said.

Illinois currently ranks just ahead of second-place Kentucky in the number of firearm background checks. Kentucky currently has 3.6 million applicants processed through November.