The insurrection in the United States Capitol and the inauguration of a Democratic president who campaigned on strengthening gun control measures helped the firearms industry set a record for its January sales last month. according to data published this Monday.
Gun dealers sold more than 2 million firearms in the United States during January. This represents a 75% increase over the 1.2 million guns that were marketed in 2020. Figures are from the National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF), a trade group in the firearms industry.
For its part, the FBI reported that it conducted 4.3 million background checks in January. Which is also a record. If that pace continues, the agency would complete more than 50 million gun-related background checks by the end of the year in the United States. This would beat the current record that was set in 2020, according to a new report from Bespoke Investment Group.
The NSSF compares reported background checks with actual sales figures to obtain adjusted and more accurate data on the arms trade. According to the organization, three of the 10 weeks with the most instant criminal background checks by the FBI were in the past month.
According to the log, there are only three other months in which there were a greater number of FBI gun background checks. First is January 2013, when Barack Obama took office for his second term after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Then it’s June and July 2020, after George Floyd’s murder, according to the FBI.
It’s not unusual for gun sales to skyrocket when a Democrat wins the White House. Following the election and re-election of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 there was a sudden increase in arms sales.
But Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the NSSF, said that President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign rhetoric about banning AR-15 rifles and requiring gun owners to register them to comply with the National Firearms Law stopped. to some homeowners with greater fear that their ability to purchase weapons and ammunition will soon be reduced.
“They are going to act while they can so they can buy whatever they want,” Oliva told Citizen Free Press Business. “It cannot be ruled out that many of these background checks for the purchase of a firearm are attributed to threats from the Biden administration to enact the most radical and far-reaching gun control agenda ever proposed.”
Gun-maker stocks spiked on Jan.6 when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. An event that caused the death of five people, including a police officer on duty. However, Bespoke noted that neither of the two most notable publicly traded gun manufacturers – Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger – has performed as well in recent months. Shares of both companies are well below their 52-week highs, according to Bespoke.
“Valuations for SWBI and RGR are at multi-year lows,” the investment firm wrote in one of its recent reports. “These multiple lows may well be justified given that arms manufacturers face an increased level of regulatory risk over the next few years with the Democrats having full control in Washington.”
Oliva indicated that continued fears about social unrest that began in 2020 probably played a role in the January sales record as well.
“I think there are still safety concerns,” he said. “There are people who fear that they cannot provide their own security,” he added.
Brandon Wexler, 51, owner of Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, Florida, said gun sales at his store have been “unusual” since the pandemic began last March. But, he added, purchases peaked in early January, when customers expressed anxiety over Biden’s inauguration.
“I think there was fear of rioting by supporters on both sides of the fence,” Wexler told Citizen Free Press Business. “Fear increased the demand. Demand increased sales, “he said.
Anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s murder led to an unprecedented surge in first-time gun purchases in 2020. Bespoke analysts said there is a fairly direct connection between the level of uncertainty Americans have and the number of guns they buy.
“Obviously, January was quite a busy month. So it is understandable that the pace of background checks was so high, ”Bespoke analysts wrote in their report. “While we would expect that pace to slow down in the months to come, as things have been in recent months, who knows what the next few months will bring?”
US arms sales increase due to pandemicThe record for the month of January comes after a year that saw the highest number of gun sales in the United States. The FBI conducted an estimated 39.7 million instant gun-related background checks last year. Which surpassed the previous record of more than 27 million gun background checks in 2016. Exactly the year many expected Hillary Clinton, a pro-gun control Democrat, to win the White House. Bespoke noted that the year-over-year increase in monthly FBI gun-related background checks was at least 24% each month during 2020.
Both Oliva and Wexler said they hope that continued attempts to increase gun control will lead to increases in gun sales under Biden.
“Obama was the best arms dealer in the country,” Wexler said. “Covid-19 was the next best. And now I think Joe Biden will be the best arms dealer, “he added.
Travis M. Andrews is a features writer for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2016 as a reporter for Morning Mix. He was previously a travel and culture editor for Southern Living magazine, a contributing pop culture reporter for Mashable and the Week, and a contributing editor for the Syfy blog Dvice. He also has freelanced for magazines, including Esquire, GQ and Time. He is the author of the coming book “Because He’s Jeff Goldblum,” a semi-rumination and semi-ridiculous look at the career of the enigmatic actor and an exploration of the shifting nature of fame in the 21st century, to be published in November by Plume.