Firearm sales have remained strong across the country in 2021, and could even surpass last year’s record-setting numbers. For 2020, sales of firearms increased by forty percent over the previous year and reached an estimated 39.7 million guns sold to U.S. consumers. For the first six months of this year gun sales were up fifteen percent – with a total 22.2 million guns sold.
This marked the largest first half of the year figure since sales were first recorded in 1998 according to a report from 24/7 Wall Street. The numbers are based on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which tracks the background checks by sate. Since 1998, there have been more than 340 million checks conducted – and just two million denials. As the financial news site reported, the data remains the best approximation for U.S. gun sales available.
Post-Pandemic Slowdown Coming?
The novel coronavirus pandemic certainly jump-started the sales last year, but sales also remained strong last summer as the nation saw a wave of often violent protests, and again following the election of President Joe Biden. The president, who has continued to call for gun control, has been described as the “best firearms salesman” in the nation.
It wasn’t just long-time gun owners who were “stocking up.” The country saw as many as eight million first-time buyers last year, many of whom were women and minorities, while young people were also interested in evoking their Second Amendment rights.
“New preliminary data from Northeastern University and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center show that about a fifth of all Americans who bought guns last year were first-time gun owners,” 24/7 Wall Street reported.
With the country now reopening and life returning to normal, it has been suggested that gun sales could begin to slow down. However, as crime has been on the rise in many large cities – and shootings are up across the country – it may be too soon to predict if the industry should expect a major decline in sales. Pandemic sales may be over, but other factors could continue to drive sales in 2021.
It also isn’t the traditionally “red states” that have seen such an uptick in firearms sales. According to the recent data, residents in Illinois accounted for some 6,050,704 background checks. While the Land of Lincoln accounts for just four percent of the population it still accounted for more than a quarter – twenty-seven percent – of the background checks in the first six months of this year.
California also saw firearms sales surge by fifty-seven percent last year, the highest increase in five years. There is the popular saying, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” In the case of firearms sales that has certainly been the case.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.