Background checks for gun sales are breaking new ground with alarming figures for August 2017. The amount of background checks carried out in August 2017 was 1,925,146. In August 2016 that figure was 1,853,815 background checks for gun sales. A further worrying trend was that records were set for fifteen consecutive months, that being May 2015 through November 2016. That being month on month corresponding (May 2015/May2016). The amount of background checks for gun sales from January 1st 2016 through to November 30th 2016 (11 months) outstripped any previous calendar year.Checks tailed off in December 2016. However rather than a false dawn this was no more than background checks for gun sales returning to some typical volumes but still the third highest December ever in background check history. Observers were only too quick to promote the idea of the presidency redeeming the States from gun control, yet undermining, in the process, the gun industry. However the first half of 2017 saw the second highest amount of background checks for gun sales ever.
Figures for the first six months of this year were only surpassed by the same period last year. Checks are combined with firearm accessory sales, range membership and concealed carry permits. Figures would therefore suggest that 2017 is likely to be the best year for gun sales in the past 20 years. The record number of background checks for gun sales would seem to confirm this.
Background checks aren’t a precise barometer of gun sales. These checks are performed on the individual as opposed to the firearm itself. Every background check could represent a single firearm or for example three firearms. Irrespective it means that Americans are purchasing firearms in ever increasing numbers. However the pro stance might actually become a double edged sword. The gun industry is coining it’s fall in revenues as the “Trump Slump’. American Outdoor Brands (previously Smith & Wesson) has confirmed a decline of around 40% in it’s quarterly net sales (end July 31st) That level of decline in sales represent $78 million in lost sales. If revenues from firearms alone are assumed then year on year the drop may well be closer to $100 million.
Numerous ads were ran by the NRA touting that Hillary Clinton would prioritise stronger gun legislation if elected. While also peddling the idea that Clinton would “leave you defenseless”. Obama and Hillary Clinton both brought about legislation for gun violence prevention. In the wake of Sandy Hook a ban on assault rifles and also national background check bills. The record number of background checks for gun sales in 2016 was fuelled by consumer paranoia, in that the government were “coming for their guns.” Other firearms manufacturers Sturm Ruger & Company also confirm precipitous sales falls this year. Read our previous post on how the Brady Campaign is working in Michigan to identify those who fail a gun background check.