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November 28th, 2012

Record Number of Firearm Sales on ‘Black Friday’ 2012

Black Friday gun sales 2012On November 23, 2012 (Black Friday), Americans purchased more guns than on any other day in history. Gun sales (based on NICS background check data) set a new single-day record. This year, the FBI logged 154,873 Black Friday background checks, up 20% from the 129,166 back-ground checks done on Black Friday 2011. And, since a NICS check may authorize purchase of multiple guns, the 154,873 number may “under-count” the actual number of firearms purchased on Black Friday this year.

Recent election outcomes may have influenced the spike in gun sales. People are concerned that more restrictive gun control laws may be enacted during President Obama’s second term. Writing in, AWR Hawkins declared: “The bottom line: Americans want their guns. And it appears they’re getting them before Obama has the chance to do anything about it.” Hawkins adds: “As in 2011, women were increasingly among those buying guns on Black Friday. And first time buyers, whether male or female, were also well represented.”

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November 23rd, 2012

Record Gun Sales Forecast for ‘Black Friday’ 2012

NSSF story By Bill Brassard
Post-election reports indicate a rising demand for firearms nationwide. If 2012 follows past trends (based on federal background check data), gun sales on the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday — will hit record levels.

Black Friday NICS gun background sales

Over the past four years (November 2008 through the December 2011), four of the top 10 most active days for background checks were Black Fridays. (See Chart.) The single-day record for most background checks was set on November 26, 2011, when more than 129,000 were made by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The second highest Black Friday total was on November 28, 2008, only weeks after President Barack Obama was elected to his first term. That total of 97,848 was a record number of background checks at that time.

Given the president’s reelection and also his call in the third debate for renewed restrictions on semi-automatic firearms, will a new record be set this Black Friday, November 23?

A background check is mandatory prior to the purchase of any firearm at retail. Background-check statistics are indicators of sales activity, though it’s important to note that for a variety of reasons a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a background check and a firearm purchase.
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June 8th, 2012

Monthly Gun Sales 20.6% Higher than Same Month Last Year

Based on data from the National Instant-Check System (NICS), gun sales continue to rise. Halfway through this election year, the number of guns sold continues to climb, and the trend is expected to continue throughout 2012. The May 2012 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 840,412 represents an increase of 20.6% over the NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 696,947 in May 2011*. For comparison, the unadjusted May 2012 NICS figure of 1,305,392 reflects a 7% increase from the unadjusted NICS figure of 1,219,872 in May 2011. This marks the 24th straight month that NSSF-adjusted NICS figures have increased compared to the same period the previous year.

NSSF May Month NICs gun sales

With President Obama’s campaign looking strong at this time, Americans are stocking up on guns and ammo in anticipation of new gun-control legislation that could be enacted during the next 4-year Presidential term. In addition, there is the possibility that the next President could nominate one or more Supreme Court Justices to replace aging members of the High Court. That creates uncertainty about future rulings on Second Amendment issues.

*Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide a more accurate picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions of firearms sales and transfers on new and used handguns and long guns.
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January 5th, 2012

Americans Purchase 10.8 Million Guns in 2011 — A New Record

Americans of all walks of life are purchasing more pistols, rifles, and shotguns than ever before. Based on NSSF-adjusted FBI background check (NICS) records, American purchased 10,791,275 firearms in 2011. That’s an all-time record, and a 14% increase over 2010. Gun sales hit a new high in 2011 after a decade of steady increases (see chart). In 2002, ten years ago, slightly less than 7,000,000 firearms were sold. The 2011 sales figure represents a 54.1% increase over 2002 sales. And the NICS figures are conservative, because they do not report multiple gun sales made with a single background check.


Gun Ownership Becomes More Universal
The increase in gun sales over the last ten years reflects growth in the ranks of gun owners. A significant percentage of recent sales have been made to first-time gun owners. And more women are arming themselves. Gun ownership is becoming more universal, not limited to the traditional groups of male hunters and sportsmen. A recent Gallup Poll found that: “47 percent of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or on their property”.

Kapap Combative Women ShootersFirst-time buyers and women are driving the spike in gun sales. USA Today reports: “Some gun industry analysts attributed the unusual surge to a convergence of factors, including an increasing number of first-time buyers seeking firearms for protection and women who are being drawn to sport shooting and hunting.” Confirming that view, states that more women, liberals, and Democrats are buying guns. Multiple factors are at work according to “Uncertainty in a presidential election year. Warriors returning from the battlefields. The comeback of the hunter. These are just some of the reasons… why firearms makers are ringing in 2012 like gangbusters.”

Gallup Gun Ownership Poll Summary
“A clear societal change took place regarding gun ownership in the early 1990s, when the percentage of Americans saying there was a gun in their home or on their property dropped from the low to mid-50s into the low to mid-40s and remained at that level for the next 15 years. Whether this reflected a true decline in gun ownership or a cultural shift in Americans’ willingness to say they had guns is unclear. However, the new data suggest that attitudes may again be changing. At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades — a finding that may be related to Americans’ dampened support for gun-control laws. However, to ensure that this year’s increase reflects a meaningful rebound in reported gun ownership, it will be important to see whether the uptick continues in future polling.”

The NSSF adjusts NICS data by subtracting out NICS purpose-code permit checks used by several states such as Kentucky, Iowa and Utah for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions of firearms sales and transfers on new and used handguns and long guns. For more NICS info visit the NICS website.

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December 2nd, 2011

Black Friday 2011 — Americans Set 1-Day Gun Sales Record

Smart phones and flat-screen TVs weren’t the only things flying off retailers’ shelves during the recent “Black Friday” sales fest. Americans bought firearms in record numbers on Black Friday 2011. The FBI recorded 129,166 firearm background requests on November 25, 2011, an all-time, single-day high. That’s 32% higher than any day on record, exceeding the previous one-day high of 97,848 background checks on Black Friday of 2008. (Note: The actual number of firearms purchased, in all likelihood, exceeds the number of background checks, because one buyer can purchase multiple guns with a single background check.)

NICS FBI 2011 Black Friday Sales

No one really knows why gun sales went through the roof this shopping season. Many large vendors, such as Cabela’s, offered deep discounts. Also hit cable television shows such as Top Shot and Sons of Guns have popularized shooting, emphasizing the “cool factor” of gun ownership. These TV series stirred interest in firearms among many Americans who, just a few years ago, had limited awareness of hunting and the shooting sports.

Emily Caruso, USA Shooting National TeamWomen and First-Time Buyers Drive Sales
Statistics suggest that newcomers to shooting (and first-time buyers) are driving the increase in sales. USA Today reports: “Some gun industry analysts attributed the unusual surge to a convergence of factors, including an increasing number of first-time buyers seeking firearms for protection and women who are being drawn to sport shooting and hunting.”

According to the NSSF’s Larry Keane, “I think there also is a burgeoning awakening of the American public that they do have a constitutional right to own guns.” Keene noted that 25% of sales are going to first-time buyers, many of whom are women. This is a good thing for the shooting sports. As more females acquire firearms for both personal defense and for recreational use, we can expect the ranks of female competitive shooters to grow.

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September 14th, 2010

FBI Reports Crime Drops as Gun Sales Rise

FBI crime statistics 2009As firearms and ammunition experienced record sales in 2009, the nation’s crime rates continued to fall, according to the FBI’s just-released report, Crime in the United States, 2009. During 2009, property crime continued to fall — for the seventh straight year — with an estimated decrease of 4.6 percent. Violent crime declined for the third year in a row, with an estimated 5.3 percent drop from 2008 figures. Each of the violent crime categories decreased from 2008—murder (7.3 percent), robbery (8.0 percent), aggravated assault (4.2 percent), and forcible rape (2.6 percent). The decrease in violent crime in 2009 occurred at the same time that firearm sales were surging.

FBI 2009 Crime Report

The FBI’s crime statistics are based on reports from the 17,985 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies who participated in the Uniform Crime Reporting program in 2009. These agencies represent 96.3 percent of the nation’s population.

CLICK HERE to read full FBI 2009 Crime Report

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January 2nd, 2010

Violent Crime Declines While Gun Ownership Rises

Preliminary statistics released by the FBI for the first half of 2009 show that violent crime continues a downward trend that began in 2006. The figures show crime falling in all categories — robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle thefts, etc. — with murders down a remarkable 10 percent from the previous year.

The FBI statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups and some mainstream media that “more guns equal more crime,” especially when you consider that the decrease in violent crime from late 2008 through the first half of 2009 occurred at the same time that firearm sales were surging.

The most popular firearms selling at that time were handguns and modern sporting rifles (AR-style rifles)–two types of firearms that anti-gunners never miss an opportunity to demonize. Law-abiding handgun owners have been filling concealed carry classes across the country, and AR-style rifles–long a favorite of target shooters–are growing in popularity among hunters as new calibers are introduced for small and big game.

People across the country continue to exercise their Second Amendment rights. National Instant Criminal Background Check statistics showing an increase of 25 million background checks from a total of 75 million to 100 million initiated by Type 01 FFLs between April 5, 2007, and April 4, 2009 . (Background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing either newly manufactured or used firearms from federally licensed retailers. The checks serve as a gauge of sales but do not reflect the actual number of firearms sold.) So … Crime is down. Gun ownership — by law-abiding, responsible citizens who pass a mandatory FBI background check at retail — is up. Don’t let anyone tell you that “more guns equal more crime.”

EDITOR’s NOTE: To understand how firearm ownership by law-abiding citizens can deter crime, we recommend you read Professor John Lott’s important book: More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws

This report courtesy Nat’l Shooting Sports Foundation Blog,

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December 22nd, 2009

Firearm Sales Charted by Region — Southeastern and Mountain States Lead Rifle Purchases

NSGA firearms reportThe National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) has issued an interesting report charting gun sales by region. Southerners like handguns, and those in the Great Lakes states purchase the most shotguns by far. In 2008, southern Atlantic states led per capita in handgun purchases and also accounted for 31.4 % of all handguns bought in the United States. East north central states led per capita in shotgun purchases and accounted for 33.4 % of shotguns sold.

The Mountain states led per capita in rifle purchases and accounted for 10.7 percent of rifles sold. But the South Atlantic states’ residents buy the most rifles overall — 22% of the nationwide total. It is interesting that the Pacific states (California, Oregon, Washington) encompass 14.7% of the U.S. population, but that region accounts for only 10% of rifles and shotguns sold. On the other hand, Pacific states’ residents buy 14.2% of all handguns, the second highest figure among regions. Maybe all those crazy gun control laws in California haven’t made things any safer, and people feel the need to arm themselves.

Download Full Report on Firearm Sales by Region (PDF File)

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April 14th, 2009

Gun Sales Boom Spurred by First-Time Buyers

We all know that gun and ammo sales have risen dramatically in recent months. Firearms sales through large retailers are up 39% compared to last year, according to SportsOneSource, a company that provides research for the outdoor industry.

What may be surprising is that there is a “new audience” of Americans who are buying firearms for the first time. Gun vendors are reporting a major increase in firearm purchases by novice shooters and first-time gun-owners. According to a recent article on the Time Magazine website, Americans who have never owned a gun before are now motivated to arm themselves: “A new market of gun buyers is emerging. [Oklahoma Gunshop owner] Miles Hall estimates that some 80% of his sales since the election have been to first- and second-time gun purchasers, many nervous that this may be their last chance.” According to the Time article, many Americans are purchasing firearms due to fears that crime may rise as the economy falters: “Americans are afraid of this economy. As a result, they’re getting locked and loaded.”

In sporting goods stores nationwide, and on internet gun forums, people are wondering “where has all the ammo gone?” Well, based on the sales of firearms, the answer may be that ammo supplies are being snapped up by the same folks who are buying guns for the first time.

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January 22nd, 2009

SHOT Show Wrap-Up: Attendance Good, Orders Strong

2009 SHOT ShowThe National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show wrapped up Sunday in Orlando with strong attendance and a cautiously optimistic outlook for the coming business year. Though many trade shows have seen a decline in attendance, SHOT Show attendance increased 3% when compared to its last visit to Orlando in 2007, and was down just 6% when compared to last year’s record-breaking show in Las Vegas. According to preliminary figures, this year’s show attracted 25,384 attendees, 22,098 exhibiting personnel and a record 1,425 members of the media for a total attendance of 48,907.

Many manufacturers’ representatives confirmed that the show was very good from a business standpoint. Despite the troubled economy, orders were being taken and demand seemed strong for a wide variety of products. High-tech rifles and handguns, in particular, have seen a jump in sales heading into 2009.

Steve Hornady, president of Hornady Manufacturing Co.:
“Response to our new products has been good. Some of this, of course, is in anticipation of a problem down the road. This year will be determined primarily by what happens in Washington, and is for the most part out of our control. We hope that common sense will prevail, and the fact that further regulation of our industry is not the solution.”

Scott Grange of Browning:
“It’s been a good show. With all of the interest in high-tech arms, it good to see that the interest in our over/under shotguns was also up. The SHOT Show specials we laid out for retailers were very well received. The success here has helped position us for the expected upturn in the economy.”

Al Russo of Remington Arms Co.:
“Our meeting rooms were booked, and the quality of the buyers at the show was very good. We saw good volume in our law enforcement booths, and we’re very pleased with the media turnout.”

SHOT Daily Available Online
All four issues of SHOT Daily, the magazine printed each day of the SHOT Show, are available online in PDF format at SHOT Daily is printed for NSSF by Bonnier Corp., publishers of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream and SHOT Business magazines.

January 15 | January 16 | January 17 | January 18

Story and photo © 2009 by NSSF, used with permission

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