Regardless of which side of the gun control debate you are on one thing is absolutely clear, based on the numbers from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS):
Americans are buying record numbers of firearms.
The NICS system is not 100% reliable when it comes to firearms sales for several reasons. Some of the checks that run through the system are for other things besides firearms purchases, some background checks return an ineligible result (decline) and no purchase is made, a NICS check is required per purchase not per firearm, personal transfers and sales in some states do not require a background check, many states don’t require NICS checks for those who have a Concealed Handgun License (CHL), and some states run their own version of the NICS system. Despite all those disclaimers the NICS statistics still provide a rough indicator of firearm sales. Especially with the number we have been seeing over the last few years.
The yearly average for NICS checks has increased by over 30% since the current administration was elected. Over the last three years gun sales (based on NICS checks) have averaged over 20 million per year! That’s enough guns to equip every single member of the world’s 25 largest military forces four times over.
So far this year, Americans have purchased over 17 million firearms which is enough to up that to five times over.
Think about this for a minute over the last three years, we as a nation, have bought enough firearms to equip every active duty member of the US military 42 times over…
That ladies and gentlemen, is a LOT of firearms!
Many, mainly on a specific side of the gun control debate, will have you believe that based on surveys almost 100% of these are being purchased by current gun owners. However, the manufacturers are focusing their sales and market efforts not on current gun owners but on first time buyers, especially women. Why? Because according to their research that is the biggest and fastest growing demographic of gun buyers. Few of these buyers are focused on sporting use of firearms. Almost without fail the motivating force behind these new buyer is self-defense or personal protection. Which is why many manufacturers are seeing this segment of the market as more important, possibly for the first time in history, than police and military contracts.
So, these are the stats. Make of them what you will.