Gun Sales Saw Only Small Drop in November: The holiday shopping season is off to a strong start, despite this year’s record inflation, and Americans are expected to spend between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion this season, a six to eight percent increase over last year, according to data from the National Retail Federation.
Gun sales have declined this year, but still remain above pre-pandemic levels – a trend that continued last month.
Even as the sale of firearms continued its downward slide in November, a lot of handguns and “black guns” apparently were purchased on this year’s Black Friday.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, revealed that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) completed 711,372 background checks for the purchase of a firearm at retail during the week leading up to and including Black Friday, typically the busiest shopping day of the year.
The FBI’s NICS recorded 192,749 background checks on the day after Thanksgiving, ranking it third in the Top 10 Highest Days for NICS checks – a 2.8 percent increase from the same day a year earlier when 187,585 background checks were completed.
Though NICS checks are unadjusted, representing raw data from the FBI, and are inclusive of all background checks related to firearms, they are still seen as a benchmark for determining gun sales.
“Background checks for firearm purchases were already trending to make 2022 the third strongest year on record, coming off of the outsized years of 2020 and 2021,” explained Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. “These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”
November Gun Sales in the Spotlight
The strong sales at the end of the month were also noteworthy as Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), a research consultancy focusing on the business & economics of the global small arms and ammunition markets, estimated that November 2022 U.S. firearms unit sales at about 1.6 million units, a year-over-year decrease of just 1.7 percent relative to November 2021.
According to SAAF, the long-gun market segment saw a 5.2 percent decrease, yet the handgun segment actually increased by 1.4 percent. Even as sales dipped last month, it is far less than the 12 percent year-over-year decline seen in October.
November would be the 39th month in a row to see sales exceed one million units. That record isn’t likely to come to an end in December either, as annual background check data indicated that firearm sales typically rise during the final month of the year coinciding with hunting seasons and holiday sales.
“These figures are reflective interest and investment by law-abiding American to exercise their Second Amendment rights. This pattern has held throughout the year,” added Mark Oliva, spokesperson for the NSSF. “Americans continue demonstrate that personal safety and responsible firearm ownership are worth their hard-earned dollars.”
The analytics firm also estimates sales and bases its forecasts on raw data taken from the NICS. However, as twenty-four states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, the numbers may still underestimate the actual unit sales level by some amount.
Those permits allow a holder to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He 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 and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.