Firearm sales continue at record pace as election nears
In a trend that began April, 2010, continued into January and is now accelerating, firearm sales are increasing ahead of the November election. Many believe the increase is being fueled by a fear that a second term, lamb-duck President Obama could attempt to bypass Congress and impose more restrictions on gun ownership by executive action, something many Republicans believe he has done by asserting executive privilege in the 'Fast and Furious' investigation, to get done what he has failed to accomplish through the legislative process.
Based on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) adjusted numbers, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reported an increase of 17.3 percent in gun purchase related checks compared to the same time period the previous year. January marked 20 consecutive months of increased NICS report requests and the number of sales has been increasing steadily. While not all people that get the background check completed become buyers others bought more than one, so background checks are considered a good indicator for sales in the industry.
Additional evidence of the gun sales surge comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Smith & Wesson shares are up 125 percent over the past year, while Sturm Ruger is up almost 112 percent. Some manufacturers have had to suspend taking orders because they cannot keep up with the volume they have been receiving.
Total NICS firearm background checks, Nov. 30, 1998- May 31, 2012
The most recent available numbers indicate that the majority of people in the United States seem to have a more positive attitude towards gun ownership today than in the past. The most recent Gallup poll on the question shows the number of participants in favor of banning handguns has dropped to a record low of 26 percent compared to 60 percent in 1959. When asked if so called “assault rifles” should be banned, 53 percent said no. Those in favor of enforcing the gun laws on the books are up to 60 percent, while those who want additional regulations are down to 35 percent.
One of the most popular theories for accelerated gun sales that regularly comes up as part of the conversations around the industry when discussing increased sales is that this year’s Presidential election is energizing Second Amendment advocates that have been emphasizing that voters choosing to keep Obama in office would deal a devastating blow to gun rights.
Obama’s arrival in the White House helped to generate record gun sales in 2009. His appointment of justices to the U.S. Supreme court that favor stricter gun control laws along with his open support of the United Nation’s gun ban treaty have added to the anxiety of gun owners and increased their concerns. Although Obama has skillfully sidestepped gun related issues as he ramps up his campaign, gun buyers are likely to keep gun sales high in 2012 if it appears the President will win reelection.
“It’s definitely the election year," said Jason Hanson, a former CIA officer and personal security specialist, who went on to tell FoxNews.com. "People feel that Obama will serve a second term and with it their gun rights could be taken away, so they are stocking up,” Hanson went on to say “They’re also worried that the economy is not getting any better and that they need to protect themselves.”
Other factors contributing to the increase in firearm sales include relaxed conceal-carry laws (49 states now issue conceal-carry permits) and the increase in the number of women now purchasing firearms. According to the NSSF, gun-store owners have reported a 73 percent increase in female customers in recent years, and the number of women buying guns specifically for personal defense has climbed by more than 83 percent.
Georgia has been experiencing similar increases in the sale of firearms across the state. The Augusta Chronicle reported earlier this year that Richmond County, home to Augusta, expects to nearly double 2011 sales while Mike Weeks, owner of Georgia Gun Store in Gainesville, confirms that “sales have been higher this year than most. People are scared their gun rights are going to be curtailed after the election.”
At the end of May there had been 760,000 more background checks then there were during the first five months last year. If this pace continues, the result would be an increase from 16.2 million NICS checks in 2010 to 19.4 million checks this year, according to the FBI.
Whether it is a fear of a diminished Second Amendment in an Obama second term or fears of increased crime in the wake of an economy that remains sluggish at best, firearm and ammunition sales seem likely to continue to increase, as will the cost. Examiner