Great Gun Sales Boom of 2021, Courtesy of President Biden? Gun sales in 2021 may be down from last year’s record high, but they’re still on track to be the second-highest ever. What is also notable is that the total number of background checks completed in 2021, President Joe Biden’s first year in office, are nearly the combined numbers that were conducted during the first years of former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
Former President Obama was often called the best salesman the gun industry could hope for, but it seems that President Biden has surpassed his former boss in that role.
Joe Biden, Gun Salesman?
According to data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), there have been 35,778,134 gun background checks conducted this year. As Newsweek magazine reported, the data for Biden’s first year does not include this December, and instead is just the total number of gun background checks from January to November 2021.
By the end of Trump’s first year in office, December 2017, the NICS database showed that there had been 25,235,215 gun background checks, while at the same point in 2009, at the end of Obama’s first year in office, the NICS database reported 14,033,824 total gun background checks. Moreover, the NICS database does not include 2021 data for this December, and as such, the total number of background checks completed during Biden’s first year could still top the combined numbers conducted during Trump and Obama’s first years in office.
It should be noted too that those figures are for background checks, not actual gun sales. But even in terms of overall sales, 2021 could come close to 2009 and 2017 combined.
Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), a research firm that uses the NICS database to estimate gun sales, provided data to Newsweek, and it showed that there had been 18,005,229 gun sales from January through November of this year. Jurgen Brauer, the chief economist for SAAF, told the news outlet that he estimated that by the end of the year there will be about 20 million total gun sales. Brauer’s data found that there had been 14,716,708 gun sales in 2017 and 10,079,105 sales in 2009.
In addition, it should be noted that gun sales actually increased throughout President Obama’s time in office, as many supporters of the Second Amendment feared new gun control efforts. Sales peaked in 2015 and 2016, and then there was a slight decline in gun sales after President Trump took office.
“When Mr. Trump was elected, we called it the ‘Trump Slump’ in the [firearm] industry,” Brauer told Newsweek. “People then believed: Mr. Trump is at the helm, there will never be firearm legislations that will be deemed injurious to the firearms industry.”
2016’s sales likely had hit record levels over fear that Hillary Clinton might be elected and further push for gun control. The original Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) had been passed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton in 1994.
Since taking office, President Biden has called for a similar ban on semi-automatic modern sporting rifles and has even threatened executive action, including the creation of a national gun owner database. With such calls, Biden could still be on track to be the greatest salesman ever with such talk.
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.