Gun Background Checks Dip In April

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

For over a year now, we’ve seen an insane demand for guns. People have been worried, and when they’re worried, they buy firearms. Especially with some of the stuff that people are concerned about.

They’re worried about the economy, crime, and whether the government will start taking our guns from us.

Despite all that, though, there are signs some of this may be slowing down. Sort of.

Background checks for gun purchases decelerated in April compared to the record month of March, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, potentially stymied by the lack of inventory in the face of unprecedented demand for firearms and ammunition.

“Firearms, they aren’t available,” said Skip McCall, owner of Skips Defense Solutions, a gun store in Louisville, Kentucky. He said that inventory is feeling the strain of an ongoing buying boom, resulting in a backlog of popular firearms.

The FBI said that background checks totaled 3.51 million in April 2021. This followed the record month of March 2021, with 4.69 million background checks. But it’s a significant gain from the year-ago April 2020 tally of 2.91 million. So far this year, the monthly tallies for FBI background checks exceed all monthly tallies from last year.

Mark Oliva, public affairs director for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said that while background checks from April are still elevated compared to last year, he’s still seeing empty shelves in gun stores, reflecting how demand has outstripped supply.

“The sustained period of more than a year of higher than normal gun sales takes a toll on the industry,” he said, referring to gun and ammunition manufacturers ramping up production. “It is very difficult to maintain that pace. The fact that they’ve maintained the pace that they have is remarkable.”

In other words, it’s slowing down, but not because people don’t want to buy guns. It’s because there aren’t many guns out there to buy.

Also, it’s possible that many have shifted to buying incomplete receivers. While President Biden and the ATF work to expand regulation on so-called ghost guns. Nothing sells guns like a potential ban, so don’t be surprised if a lot of your normal gun buyers have shifted over to incomplete receivers due to the president’s actions.

For a lot of people, though, they just want a gun. They don’t want to engineer the blasted things. For them, there is likely to be a wait.

This is good for a firearm industry that was struggling with decreased demand. However, it’s that decreased demand in the not-so-distant past that is keeping store shelves bare.

Companies went into overdrive right before the 2016 election. Everyone predicted Hillary Clinton would be the winner and with that would come a renewed jihad against the Second Amendment. That means more people wanting guns.

As we all recall, it didn’t pan out that way. Instead, we got Donald Trump, and demand plummeted. It took years to sell all the back inventory.

Right now, companies are skittish about trying to step up production high enough to meet the current demand because doing so is both expensive and risky. Will this demand remain long enough for them to make a profit? That’s the question they have to ask themselves, and so far, most are of the opinion that it’s just not worth the risk.

While I don’t like it, I can’t say that I blame them.

Still, if we’re going to see a decrease in firearm sales, this is a hell of a good reason for it.