June 22nd, 2016

2016 Shaping Up as Record-Breaking Year for Gun Sales

NICs Firearms background checks Statistics

The recent Orlando terror attack has sent Americans to gun stores in droves. Prompted by concerns for self-protection (as well as proposed new gun control laws), Americans are buying more guns — all types of guns. This reflects a general trend over the past few years. In fact, it looks like 2016 will see the highest number of gun sales in American history. Based on FBI background check data, it appears that 2016 will set new records for gun sales, with nearly 17 million new guns sold. By the end of the year it is projected that Americans will own 405 million firearms — over 1.25 guns per capita*.

Record-Setting Gun Sales in 2016
by Dean Weingarten, Gunwatch.
In 2016, Americans continue to break records for gun sales. While the National Instant Check System (NICS) does not track gun sales directly, the numbers are highly correlated. The numbers of NICS checks, and the increase in private firearms, have skyrocketed during the Obama administration.

It is possible, even likely, that 2016 will reach over 28 million instant checks. If we reach 28 million instant checks in 2016, that will be about 16.8 million new firearms added to the stock in 2016 [roughly 40% of NICS checks are for “previously owned” guns]. That projection puts us at 405 million private firearms in the United States at the end of 2016.

The total for 2016 (through the end of May) is 11,698,006 instant checks. That is more than the entire year of 2007, which held the record up to that year. Thus, during the Obama years, the number of private firearm sales has doubled. In 2015, the highest year on record, the total number of checks was 23,141,970. 2016 is shaping up to break the 2015 record by millions of instant checks.

May 2016 had the most instant checks of all the months of May on record. That makes 13 months in a row that have broken records for all previous years. If the trend continues, 2016 will reach the record numbers of 2015 by the end of October, with the busy months of November and December still ahead.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten, Gunwatch. Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.


*The USA has an estimated population of 322,762,018 according to a 2015 end-of-year estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau. Source: USNews.com.

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April 21st, 2010

34.4 Million Americans Participated in Target Shooting in 2009

NSSF SurveyThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has released the results of a survey of Americans 18 years or older. The study showed that 34.4 million adult Americans (11.2% of the U.S. population*), went target shooting in 2009. This number surpasses all previous survey estimates of annual sport shooting participation. The study, “Shooting Sports Participation Survey in the United States in 2009,” was conducted for the NSSF by Responsive Management through a random digit dialing telephone survey of 8,204 U.S. residents ages 18 and older.

Mark Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, declared: “This was a highly scientific study with the sample meticulously developed on a state-by-state basis to construct the national number. Both landline and cell phones were utilized in the actual proportions they exist within the American population.” Duda said this type of telephone survey yields a 95 percent confidence level. The report’s sampling error is ± 1.08 percentage points. Added Duda, “This study measured all shooting participation— from hunters sighting in, to friends going shooting with friends who own firearms, to women practicing their self-defense skills. This study measured the full range of shooting activities across America.” CLICK HERE for NSSF Survey Report.

NSSF shooting participation survey

24 Million Adult Rifle Shooters and 22 Million Adult Handgunners
In the NSSF survey, respondents were asked about their use of particular types of rifles. An estimated 24 million adult Americans shot traditional sporting rifles, while 22 million adults shot handguns. Users of AR-style rifles (aka “modern sporting rifles”), numbered an estimated 8.9 million adults. Interestingly, however, the AR owners went shooting more often than did sport shooters using other types of firearms. The estimated 8.9 million adults who shot a modern sporting rifle in 2009, did so on 22.9 days per year on average. Though more people shot other types of rifles (24 million) and handguns (22 million) than shot modern sporting rifles, they ranked below modern sporting rifle shooters in activity, with traditional rifle users participating on 17.3 days and handgun shooters 16.7 days.

AR Shooters Outnumber Trap/Skeet Shooters
More people shot with modern sporting rifles (ARs), and more often, than with shotguns in the established sports of skeet, trap and sporting clays. As noted above, 8.9 million Americans used their ARs for sport shooting. The survey showed 7.6 million people went trap shooting on 14.8 days, 7 million went skeet shooting on 15.5 days and 8.4 million participated in sporting clays on 13.7 days.

The survey sought to define the demographic makeup of those who shoot with a modern sporting rifle, such as an AR-15. As expected, men represented 84 percent of modern sporting rifle shooters and women 16 percent. Most modern sporting rifle users reside in small cities or towns (25 percent) and non-farm rural areas (25 percent) compared with urban areas (19 percent), suburban areas (16 percent) and farms/ranches (15 percent). Modern sporting rifles appealed to younger shooters, with 64 percent of users ranging in age from 18 to 44. Modern sporting rifle users were 86 percent white, with Hispanic/Latinos the next largest ethnic group at 5 percent.

*The US population was 307,006,500 in July 2009, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data.

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