The Corona Virus pandemic has affected us all in some way, shape, or form. But how has it changed the firearm industry? In this post and infographic we’ll explore the most important firearm sales statistics you need know from the summer of Covid-19 and discuss how they will shape the future of the gun industry in 2020 and beyond.
Record Firearm Background Checks
Since 1998, the FBI has recorded the number of NICS background checks daily. March 20, 2020 recorded the highest ever number of background checks (210,308) and the week of 3/16 to 3/22 took the top spot for the highest number of background checks in a week with over 1.19 million. June, typically a low sales month for the gun industry, saw a 70% increase from 2019 and July continued the trend with a 79% increase in background checks from a year ago. While these background checks do not always directly correlate to gun sales, they are a great indication of the strength of the gun industry and peoples’ interest in purchasing firearms.
Top States- Gun Sales
While to many people it may be no surprise that Texas led all states with over 1.08 million gun purchases from January to July, other states such as California (688,657) and Virginia (492,986) also showed strong numbers. Additionally, Firearm sales in Alabama and Michigan skyrocketed with a 248% and 201% increase respectively from a year ago and Rhode Island, Utah, and Georgia all sold over double what they did in 2019.
Firearm Sales by Gun Type
Handguns were by far the most popular gun style sold with 1.39 million being sold in March and a total of 4.7 million total sold between March and June. June showed an unprecedented increase of 178% more sales from a year ago. 2.37 million long guns were sold between March and June with June once again showing the highest percentage increase at 115% from 2019.
Americans’ concern for safety was evident in their ammo choices. Practical, self-defense rounds such as 5.56 NATO, .22 LR, 9mm Luger, and .223 Remington reigned supreme as the most popular calibers sold for AR Rifles and AR Pistols. Additionally, ammunition has been in short supply, with many believing that availability will not return to pre-corona levels till at least 2021.
First Time Gun Owners
Much publicity has been given to the large number of first time gun owners during this crisis. The NSSF conducted a survey in May of 2020 in which they asked firearm retailers what percentage of their customers were first time gun buyers. They concluded that 40.2% of gun sales during that time were to first time gun buyers with semi-automatic handguns and shotguns being the most popular choices for new owners. Thankfully, the firearm community has welcomed these new gun owners by providing them with many free safety videos on YouTube, online firearm courses, and excellent advice and guides found in many firearm forums and blogs.
The Future of the Firearm Industry
So what’s next for firearm customers and retailers once life begins to return to normal? The results of presidential elections have a long history of affecting gun sales depending on the philosophy of the winner about gun control. People are motivated to stock up on firearms after the election of a leader that threatens more gun control for fear that they will not be able to purchase those firearms in the future. Conversely, gun sales plummeted shortly after Donald Trump was elected in 2016 as he was not expected to increase gun regulations and could do so again if reelected.
Whatever the result of these challenging times and the 2020 Presidential Election, firearm manufacturers will continue to provide Americans with firearms for personal defense, hunting, or just plain fun while working within the rules established by our nation’s leaders.
Which of these statistics did you find most surprising? Please share this article on social media if you found it interesting and pass it along to those in your life who need to know this information.