October’s firearm sales figures are in and if this is an indicator of how American feels about guns – folks, it’s a landslide.
NSSF released the adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figures for October. They aren’t record-breaking. They’re a record-shattering 1.76 million background checks completed for the sale of a firearm across the nation. That brings the annual total to 17.2 million, leaving the previous record in the rear-view mirror. That was 15.7 million background checks in 2016, also an election year, when Hillary Clinton promised to re-enact the failed 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
Those buying firearms this year are facing the threat of former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) with outright confiscation of lawfully owned semiautomatic rifles. Just two days before voters walked into the booth, Biden reiterated his gun control aspirations. Apparently, he’s unaware of the record-breaking numbers of Americans buying firearms this year, including the 6.9 million estimated first-time buyers.
How’d We Get Here?
The sales surge started in earnest in March, when 2.3 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm. That was the most ever recorded in a single month since record keeping began in 1999. Since then, between 1.6 and 2.2 million checks have been conducted each month, giving each month since March the strongest month on record. That’s right. Each month has been a record-setting month. That’s brought us to these most recent figures, which blew past 2019’s totals long ago and just zipped by the 2016 record. Here’s the kicker. There’s still two months of sales to count, and traditionally they are two of the busiest months of the year.
In all honesty, sales were trending higher even before March. January and February’s figures topped the same months in 2019. The monthly figures for the end of 2018 were higher than they were a year before. It can’t be discounted that it’s also the same time Democratic candidates were trying “out-gun control one” another. What’s left is Democratic National Committee gun control platform that is the most radical – and unconstitutional – proposal to ever be posed to voters.
Not every gun buyer has been a red state gun owner. Reporting has shown that people from all walks of life and all political ideologies are buying guns. That means politicians pushing this radical antigun agenda aren’t reading the tea leaves, even when they’re arranged in complete sentences for them. Americans don’t want more gun control. They want politicians to get serious about crime control.
The industry has ben busy keeping up with demand. Manufacturers are working diligently to meet orders and keep shelves stocked. By anyone’s estimate, that’s been difficult. Everyone will also be watching Election Day returns. That will be a tell-tale of what’s in store for the firearm industry and gun owners. Once the votes are counted, American will know if there’s going to be an added run to buy guns before antigun politicians shut the spigot off and dry up gun rights or if the industry is able to meet the needs of today’s customer.
It’s been a record-breaking year and there are still two months to go.
Lawrence Keane is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearm industry trade association.