We’ve all heard that gun sales are soaring in the face of civil unrest and the potential for gun control if Joe Biden wins next month and the Democrats take the Senate.
But to put the level of sales in perspective, consider that Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings Inc CEO Jon Barker estimates that 5 million people purchased firearms for the first time from January through July of this year. His estimate matches that of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
And it’s not just guns, it’s also ammunition. Consumers like Andreyah Garland, a 44-year-old single mother of three daughters who bought a shotgun in May for protection in the quaint middle-class town of Fishkill, New York, can’t find shells at her local Walmart.
About her purchase, Garland said:
“With everything going on around us, you see a need.”
The ranks of new gun owners include many women, minorities and politically liberal buyers who once would not have considered gun ownership, according to Reuters interviews with more than a dozen industry experts, academics and gun store owners.
Dan Eldridge, owner of Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines, Illinois, said:
“People who don’t normally think about firearms are being forced to contemplate something outside their universe.”
Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Peter Smith estimates that first-time buyers account for about 40% of sales this year, which is double the average in past years.
The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows a 41% increase in activity during the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2019, which was a record year. With 28.8 million background checks through the end of September, this year’s surge has already surpassed last year’s all-time high of 28.4 million and we still have three months left.