May 27th, 2009

Firearms & Hunting Product Sales Top $4.6 Billion in 2008

NICS background checksWe all know that sales of firearms, ammo, and reloading supplies have surged since the November Presidential election. Federal excise taxes, collected on guns and ammo sales, rose 13.9% in 2008 compared to 2007. Likewise NICS background checks are up dramatically. Data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported 1,225,980 checks in April 2009. This figure is a 30.3 percent increase from the 940,961 reported in April 2008.*

What does all this represent in terms of sales revenues? According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), Americans spent over $4.6 billion on guns and hunting gear in 2008. That’s a $500,000,000 increase over 2007. Yes, business is booming for the gun industry. The rise in firearms sales has benefitted major gun makers such as Ruger, whose stock has nearly tripled in price since November 2008. (Check out this chart — with hindsight, we all should have invested in Ruger last fall.)

Sturm Ruger stock price 2009

Sales of hunting and firearms equipment showed the greatest percentage increase in 2008 compared to all other sporting goods equipment categories with sales of more than $1 billion, the NSGA reports. A new NSGA report shows hunting and firearms equipment sales rose 16 percent to $4.6 billion in 2008, up from $3.9 billion in 2007. That’s a $500,000,000 increase in one year — and we can expect the trend to continue in 2009. Overall retail sales of sporting goods (footwear, clothing and equipment) fell 1 percent in 2008 to $53.4 billion.

*The April 2009 increase follows a 29.2 percent gain in March and rises of 23 percent in February, 28 percent in January, 24 percent in December and 42 percent in November when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.

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