2011 was yet another record breaking year for gun sales, with Americans purchasing some 10.8 million firearms, a 14% increase over the previous year and up over 50% from ten years ago as reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation:
Many indicators, including a record-setting 2011, show the firearms industry continues to thrive in a down economy and that the potential exists for another strong sales year in 2012, reports the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.
Indicators such as background-check statistics, firearms production and importation, firearm-retailer surveys and on-the-ground reports from retailers nationwide reveal that interest in firearm ownership is high. “More and more Americans are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights, and they are doing so in a safe and responsible manner,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti.
One of the best indicators of firearms sales is the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System, which federally licensed firearm retailers use to conduct the mandatory background check on purchasers of new and used firearms. NSSF downwardly adjusts the NICS data by subtracting checks related to non-purchasing activity, such as checks for concealed carry permits, in order to gain a more accurate picture of market activity.
December marked an unprecedented 19th straight month of background check increases when compared to the same period in the previous year.
Why are more Americans choosing to own firearms? Reasons range from citizens’ increased awareness of the Second Amendment protecting the individual right to own firearms that was reaffirmed in two recent Supreme Court decisions, to increased interest in personal and home protection that may be due to economic uncertainty, to increased interest in the shooting sports and hunting.
Politics has played a role, too, with a surge in firearms sale beginning in October 2008, in part because supporters of the Second Amendment feared the election of less gun-friendly candidates, including Barack Obama, and new, restrictive gun laws they might advocate. Though such legislation has not happened, industry professionals at the SHOT Show believe a similar reaction this election year is possible that could ignite another surge in firearm sales.
Related to the topic of gun sales is the public’s changing attitude toward ownership. A recent Gallop poll showed a record lack of support for gun control, with only 26 percent of Americans favoring a ban on the possession of handguns. When Gallup first asked Americans this question some 50 years ago, 60 percent favored banning handguns.
As sales climb, recent FBI data shows violent crime continuing to fall in the United States, with homicides dropping out of the top 15 causes of death in the country. The statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups that “more guns equal more crime.”
“These statistics vividly demonstrate that the lawful possession and use of firearms by law-abiding Americans does not cause crime,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “There have never been more firearms in civilian possession in the history of the United States, and crime, including homicide, continues to decline throughout the country.”
Japanese Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was once quoted during World War II as saying, “you cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.“
Enemies of the people of the United States and our Constitution should take heed. We’ve got guns. Lots of them, so just back off.