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1.2 Million Guns Sold: Why Firearms Sales Keep Busting Records

Image: Creative Commons.

Gun Sales Remain Strong for the 36th Straight Month – As lawmakers debated how to place new restrictions on firearms, many Americans opted to show their support for the Second Amendment by purchasing a new gun. Just last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted narrowly, largely on party lines, to ban the sale and manufacture of some semi-automatic firearms. Democrats argued that the Constitution does not protect such guns, which they contend have become a favored tool used by mass shooters to kill large numbers of people.

“The assault weapons ban would take the weapons of war off our streets and save countless lives,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

Republicans countered that the firearms were among the most popular in the country among law-abiding gun owners, and stressed that semi-automatic firearms are still fully protected by the Second Amendment. Clearly, many Americans seemed to agree with the latter sentiment, as gun sales hit a new record in July – becoming the 36th consecutive month to see firearms purchases exceed a million units.

“That’s a tremendous milestone, especially taken in light of the actions of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives last week,” explained Mark Oliva, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

“The House held committee hearings and passed legislation that would ban the most popular- selling centerfire rifle in America — the modern sporting rifle, along with some models of semi-automatic shotguns and handguns,” Oliva continued. “They did this even after admitting they knew the legislation was unconstitutional and defied U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Law-abiding Americans also voted — over 1.2 million times last month and hundreds of millions of times over the last three years — to remind Congress that Second Amendment rights belong to the people.”

It is also worth noting that even as liberal lawmakers such as Nadler, along with many gun control groups, continue to use the term “assault weapon,” the Associated Press has called on reporters to refrain from using the term, citing that it isn’t accurate.

“The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a  subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle. An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted,” read a July 2022 style tip.

Guns Keep Flying Off the Shelves: Sales Remain Strong

According to the NSSF, firearms sales reached 1,233,115 –  based on the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which recorded a total of 2.4 million checks in July. That number includes non-sale FBI background checks, such as those who seek to get a concealed carry permit.

The numbers from the trade association were similar to findings from the research firm Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), which estimated that July 2022  saw about 1.3 million in unit sales. While it was a year-over-year decrease of 5.0 percent relative to July 2021, SAAF noted that sales have still remained at pre-pandemic levels.

“Apart from June 2022 numbers, the July 2022 data continue this calendar year’s overall year-over-year decrease in firearms unit sales,” explained SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer. “Nonetheless the contrast to prior years is remarkable, with total (estimated) unit sales from January to July of 7.4 million in 2019, 13.1 million in 2020, 11.9 million in 2021, and 10.0 million thus far in 2022.”

According to the SAAF’s report, which is also based on the NICS data, the decrease affected the handgun segment, which saw a 4.6 percent decline, slightly less than the long-gun segment, where there was a 7.4 percent decrease. Last month, handguns outsold long-guns by a factor of 1.77 handguns per long-gun.

With hunting season around the corner, sales of firearms exceeding a million units will likely continue into the fall and beyond. And the more lawmakers clamor to ban guns, the more likely sales will remain strong.

A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.