Even as the sales of firearms have begun to slow in recent months, according to the latest data U.S. gun sales in the first seven months of 2021 were 13 percent higher than over the same period last year – which also blew away all previous records.
With some 25.1 million firearms sold between January 1 and July 31, it was the largest seven months of the year figure since sales were first recorded in 1998.
According to a report from 24/7 Wall Street, sales of firearms rose 40 percent last year, reaching nearly 39.7 million, which was also a high-water mark in annual gun sales.
Sales in Blue States
What is also notable about last year’s increase in firearms sales is that it wasn’t just the traditional buyers adding to their personal arsenals. While existing gun owners may have certainly sought out a new firearm for the range, or to bolster their home defense plan, 2020 saw some 11 million new gun owners.
The media has been quick in the past to suggest those would be older white men, but quite a different picture was painted as last year saw a surge in millennials – those under 40-years old – as well as African-Americans, Asian-Americans and women buying guns. Many of those buyers were reportedly driven by fears for their safety following last summer’s wave of violent protests and calls to defund the police.
The election of President Joe Biden, who campaigned on calls for more gun control, has also been a factor in the increase in sales. It appears that many are seeing that if they don’t buy now, they may lose their opportunity if the Biden administration pushes through with its efforts to ban modern sporting rifles and limit the sale of so-called high-capacity magazines.
Just as it isn’t old white guys who have been stocking up on firearms, sales haven’t been just in the more “gun-friendly” states. In fact, gun shops across New Jersey have reported a surge in firearms sales that began with the pandemic last spring and continued throughout last year. Even as sales have leveled off a bit, some owners say all it will take is a small catalyst – such as more calls for gun control or a violent shooting – to ramp up sales once again. Sales in the Garden State have also remained strong because of the extensive hurdles one must clear to buy a gun.
“Remember, a lot of the people that bought guns last year are people that had permits in the pipeline, so to speak,” Joe Hawk, the owner of Guns & Roses LLC, told the Asbury Park Press.
Hawk explained that New Jersey’s strict gun laws require prospective gun buyers to go through an extensive process before getting their hands on a firearm. Sales at his shop increased nearly 1,000 percent last year.
“The people that are buying guns right now are people who put in for permits seven, eight months ago,” Hawk added. “So all these permits are coming to approval or fruition now.”
Gun sales have also been strong in the Land of Lincoln, and will likely continue to remain strong as last month Illinois’ Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that would expand background checks on all gun sales. That law will go into effect in 2024. Until then, it is likely residents in Illinois will see that it is truly now or never to execute their Second Amendment rights.
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.