Sales of firearms in the US hit an all-time record in March, but that’s not really a surprise since monthly sales of guns have broken the previous record for 11 consecutive months. This year (2016) is widely expected to be the largest year for firearm sales ever.
How do we know this? The gun sales numbers are gauged by the number of background checks conducted by the FBI on those who purchase firearms each month. In March alone, for example, the FBI performed 2,523,265 firearm-related background checks.
For the first three months of 2016, the FBI has performed a record 7,682,141 such background checks. If this pace continues, 2016 will the largest gun sale year ever with over 30 million gun background checks as opposed to 23.1 million in 2015.
FBI background checks are widely considered a reliable gauge for gun sales because all sales conducted through federally licensed firearms dealers must include one. Some states also require private sales between non-dealers to include a background check. However, many states do not.
Because some states don’t require FBI background checks for private sales, that means the gun sales figures are understated, but at least they are a reliable indicator of the trends in gun sales. The number of background checks also doesn’t represent instances where multiple firearms are purchased at the same time/same dealer requiring only one background check.
The real question is, why have firearm purchases increased at record rates since 2010? The first answer to this question should be obvious: President Obama. He made it very clear upon taking office that he is anti-gun and if the truth were known, likely anti-Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms – as well.
Americans fear that if Mr. Obama could have his way, gun sales would be even more heavily regulated or banned altogether. The president keeps this fear fresh on Americans’ minds each time there is a mass shooting. In February for example, gun sales spiked following a call by Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA.
Back in December of last year, Obama called for new gun buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Like so many things this president doesn’t understand, such calls for gun sale restrictions only fuel Americans’ fear about not having access to gun purchases, so they buy more.
And let’s be fair – it’s not just Obama. Gun sales rose in New Jersey in 2013 after Governor Chris Christie proposed new rules that included expanding background checks and banning certain rifles.
When Maryland approved one of the nation’s strictest gun-control measures in May 2013, gun sales jumped as buyers tried to beat the October deadline specified in the measure, which banned most semiautomatic rifles.
These dynamics show a Catch-22 for gun control proponents: Pushing for new restrictions leads to an increase in sales of guns. This is not rocket science!
Making this point even more clearly is the fact that the number of guns present in gun-owning households has almost doubled in the last two decades. As you can see above, the average number of guns in gun-owning households has soared from 4.1 guns in 1994 to 8.1 guns at the end of 2013 based on Gallup surveys taken for the FBI.
That number is even higher today given the record high firearm sales over the last 11 months.
You would think that the advisors to the anti-gun crowd would make it clear that their gun sale rhetoric is only making Americans want to own more guns. And perhaps the most shocking statistic of all is the fact that interest in “concealed-carry permits” skyrocketed off the chart last year.
The point today is that gun sales and gun ownership have soared in recent years. Part of the reason, of course, is that mass shootings have increased around the country, and more Americans want to have firearms for personal protection. But let’s face it, most Americans buying guns in recent years don’t expect to use them to stop a mass shooting.
Rather, they are buying guns – and more of them – because they fear that this president and liberals in general may take away their right to buy them in the not-too-distant future. It will be interesting to see what these trends do after President Obama leaves office.
04-26-2016 9:29 PM
Gary D. Halbert