Well another month has gone by and once again gun sales (as measured by NICs checks) are in record territory. There were 2.3 million NICs checks in the month of October. This is, by far, the highest number in any month of October ever. It broke last year’s record by almost 360,000. It also means that 2016, with the two busiest months for gun sales still remaining, already ranks as the second busiest for NICs checks ever. At this point we are only a little over 900,000 firearm sales away from breaking the record set last year (23,141,970).
If gun sales drop after the election and go down just to average levels we could break last year’s record by over two million gun sales.
When I posted something about this on FezBook one of my friends of a fairly liberal bent responded with a survey that showed that all these sales are to existing gun owners and the number of gun owners is actually decreasing. This contradicts other studies that show much of the growth in firearm sales is attributed first time buyers. Incidentally, women are a growing segment of the market as well. Both of which would seem to contradict the results of the study she quoted.
Why would these number skew so differently?
In my humble (and non-scientific opinion) most gun owners are more than just a little hesitant to tell an anonymous caller claiming to be a pollster whether or not they own firearms. I hope and believe that no one in my family would answer that question honestly just as they wouldn’t answer anonymous questions about home alarm systems, jewelry, cash, precious metals or other valuables in the home.
Now the obligatory disclaimer: NICS checks do not directly correlate with firearms purchases. There is one check per purchase not one per firearm so many checks cover the purchase of more than one firearm. Not all NICS result in an OK to purchase. Many states do not require NICS checks for those with valid carry permits. The number of NICS checks is generally several percentage points lower than the number of firearms actually purchased.