According to the National Shooting Sports Association’s adjusted NICS figures, May of 2020 was another record setting month for gun sales. In a statement released Monday afternoon, the firearms industry trade group reported that NICS checks related to firearm sales increased by 75-percent compared to May of 2019. Last month, the NSSF estimates 1,595,70 NICS checks on gun sales, while May of 2019 had 910,910 checks. The association says that Americans are “voting with their wallets” when it comes to their Second Amendment rights.
Our recent survey of firearm retailers shows us that 40 percent of these gun buyers are buying a firearm for the first time. Of those first-time gun owners, 40 percent are women and these buyers are overwhelmingly purchasing handguns for personal protection.
The past months, and especially the events of the past week, show us that in uncertain times, law-abiding Americans will consistently choose to take responsibility for their own safety, as is their right. Police were already stretched thin before this wave of unrest, prisoners recently released from jails were being re-arrested for subsequent violent crimes and the widespread destruction of personal property and assaults remind Americans that they must be their own first-responder.
We encourage all gun owners to properly secure firearms when they are not carried or in use and to seek training for proper firearms handling and marksmanship skills.
The raw NICS numbers showed more than 3,000,000 background checks were conducted last month, but the NSSF subtracts out permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases in order to derive a more accurate number of checks related to gun sales. It’s still not a perfect snapshot, because multiple firearms purchases may only go through one background check, but it’s still a fairly accurate representation of the number of Americans who purchased at least one firearm last month.
As the NSSF alluded to, the riots and looting that have erupted alongside peaceful protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd are likely to send June’s background check figures to another record high. Personally, I’ve had several people reach out to me over the past couple of days with questions on how to legally buy a gun, and Twitter is awash with comments from people who’ve say they’ve never owned a gun before, but are ready to make their first purchase.