With summer winding down and hunting season around the corner many gun shops across the country are expecting to see an uptick in gun sales. Not that sales have been slow this summer; far from it. In fact, 2021 has seen the second-highest sales nationwide for firearms on record surpassed only by last year’s unprecedented sales that included purchases by upwards of 11 million first-time buyers.
Most industry analysts have said it would be impossible for 2021 to maintain the level of 2020, where sales were driven by the pandemic, followed by fears of increased violence following anti-police protests and then the election of Joe Biden, who ran on a platform that included numerous calls for gun control. Simply put, 2020 had everything but the four horsemen of the apocalypse as firearms merchants.
But now gun dealers in Texas are expecting another wave of handgun sales, driven by the fact that the Lone Star State’s new permitless carrying policy – also known as Constitutional Carry – goes into effect on last Wednesday. It will allow adults over the age of 21 without criminal backgrounds to legally carry a gun in public without a permit – except in spaces where property owners expressly forbid it.
The bill passed the Texas legislature earlier this year and was signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
“You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at the June bill signing. “But today I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State.”
Reversing a Trend
For gun shops in Texas, this could be quite a blessing, as Texas gun sales were reported to be down about eight percent from last year. While still stronger than years prior, another surge in sales would be welcome news for local businesses – many of which are “mom and pop operations” and depend on every single sale.
“I do anticipate it’s going to have a positive impact for the number of shooters,” Kyle Harrison, general manager of West Houston’s Top Gun Range, told The Houston Chronicle. “We’re removing that barrier to entry.”
A misconception is that the bill will make it easier for individuals to purchase guns, but in truth under Texas law handguns would already be purchased without a permit. The new law simply makes it easier for people to carry their firearms publicly – openly or concealed.
“It’s going to bring a whole lot of people into carrying who may not have been able to get a license,” added Danny Clark, owner of Collectors Firearms. “Or they didn’t want to go through the trouble.”
A potential downside for some shop owners is that part of their business can be in providing customers with concealed weapons training, which is why some retailers are still encouraging people not to simply think all they need is a gun to be safe.
“I’m all for ‘Constitutional Carry,’ I just hope people will get the education that they need and be able to use their firearm and know how it functions, know how to shoot,” Thomas Larson, owner at Lone Star Shooting Sports told KCBD.com.
Texas became the fifth state to enable such a carry law this year. It followed a number of states including Utah, where the law went into effect in early May, followed by Montana on June 1. Iowa and Tennessee also became Constitutional Carry states on July 1, while three other states – Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Kentucky – did away with all carry permit requirements in 2019.
There are already 19 other states that have a form of Constitutional Carry laws active.
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.