There’s been a lot of talk about the so-called “Trump Slump” for the gun industry. I’ve seen it mentioned repeatedly and even repeated it myself, but there wasn’t a whole lot of hard numbers floating around to show just how bad the Trump Slump actually has been for the firearm industry. Well, we now have some data to talk about, and it doesn’t look good.
Believe it or not, he Trump era of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks has had seven months of tremendous sales. The National Instant background Check System (NICS) checks were 1,742,546 in July of 2017. There were 14,346,648 checks since January 1, more checks than all of 2010. In 2016, the number was 16,026,660 at the end of July. Through July, 2015, they were 12,067,075. The July figure is 79% of the 2016 NICS checks and 108.8% of the 2015 NICS checks! If you are a numbers nerd, read on…
The NSSF has figured out how to remove checks done for permits and renewals. That gives a much better estimation of the number of new guns sold. Recent calculations by the NSSF show there are about .53 guns sold for each NICS check. That would amount to about another million guns in private hands in July of 2017, and 7.7 million more privately owned guns since the beginning of the year. About 14.7 million were added to the stock in 2016.
The NICS checks for June, 2017 were 1,901,768. That is the second highest number of NICS checks for any June. The highest was in 2016, with 2,131,485. The third highest June was in 2015, with 1,529,057. Both of those were driven by fear that strong gun control measures might be passed by President Obama.
Firearm sales and NICS checks have not dropped precipitously with a Trump presidency as expected. Instead, gun sales and NICS checks have stayed at high, near record, or record levels in 2017. The July, 2017 NICS checks are 89% of the 2016 figures, 108.8% of 2015 figures.
The high number of NICS checks reflects an expanded base of firearms owners and shooters who are buying more guns under the expectation of a prosperous Trump Presidency.
So how is this bad news, you might ask?
Because increased demand means no drop in prices with which many of us were hoping to feed our fix for new guns over the next four to eight years.
Seriously, yes, I know this is good news and am actually happy about it. As I’ve said before, good sales for the firearm industry means there are guns to actually buy. The right to keep and bear arms means little if you can’t actually acquire arms in the first place, so a healthy gun industry really is a win.
What would be interesting is to see how many of them are new gun owners. We know that many liberals have been arming themselves out of their paranoid delusions of what President Trump will do (they’re thinking “death camps”), but they’re not the only new gun owners, to be sure. New gun owners, regardless of their political affiliation, tend to be a net win for the Second Amendment. After all, people rarely vote for regulations they know will negatively impact their lives, such as regulations that ban weapons they own or required registration of those weapons.
Regardless, it’s good to know the firearm industry is nice and healthy.