AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
After the second best Black Friday on record for the firearms industry, the number of gun-related background checks is on pace for an all time high in 2019.
Background checks aren’t a perfect method of tracking gun sales, since some checks are conducted as part of a concealed carry application process, and sales of multiple firearms at retail will only utilize the NICS system a single time, but the numbers provide a pretty good estimate of how sales are going, and right now the market appears to be strong.
By the end of November, more than 25.4 million background checks — generally seen as a strong indicator of gun sales — had been conducted by the FBI, putting 2019 on pace to break the record of 27.5 million set in 2016, the last full year President Barack Obama was in the White House.
On Black Friday alone, the FBI ran 202,465 checks.
The surge really started several months ago, although the FBI has reported at least 2-million background checks each month in 2019. After the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, when Democrat candidates were trying to outdo each other in terms of anti-gun policies, sales started to increase.
Jurgen Brauer with Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting told ABC News he does expect the firearms industry to show strong sales for 2019, though it might be off the pace set in the last few years of the Obama administration.
Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting estimates that November 2019 firearm sales “may come in at about 1.5 million units, and December 2019 sales as high as 1.7 to 1.8 million,” according to its own algorithm for calculating sales. The firm predicts the 2019 total gun sales will be higher than 2018, but lower than 2016 and 2017.
I suspect sales will continue to ramp up as we get closer to the 2020 election. Not only is there concern about what any of Democrats running for president might do if they’re elected, but gun owners and Second Amendment supporters are going to be dealing with a big push for gun control at the state level next year. From sweeping gun and magazine bans to “red flag laws”, anti-gun activists have a full agenda, and historically, the more they talk about bans, the more guns Americans buy.
I would also expect that the most popular items will be the very guns and accessories that politicians are trying to ban; AR-15’s and other semi-automatic rifles, magazines that can hold more than ten rounds, and even suppressors. That’s been the experience as of late in Virginia, anyway, where the guarantee of new gun control laws in 2020 has gun store owners scrambling to keep up with the demand. Will we see that replicated nationwide in 2020? Keep your eyes on the poll numbers as well as the number of NICS checks and you may very well see a correlation.