Fear & Loading: Gun Business Is Brisk

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posted on December 8, 2015
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November set another record number for background checks, Ruger and Smith & Wesson stock isn’t riding the market’s roller coaster and many of the firearms flying off the shelves are going home with a person with a carry permit, which often doesn’t require a NICS check.

The final tally is in for background checks conducted for the month of November through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It’s yet another monthly high-water mark, which makes seven months in a row.

November’s NICS checks totaled 2,243,030, a figure bolstered by record-setting numbers from Black Friday. Summing the first 11 months of 2015, it comes to 19,827,376, only 1,265,897 shy of the highest annual mark (set in 2013). The last time December “sales” were that low was back in 2007, so it’s a pretty safe bet more guns will have been purchased by the end of this year than ever before.

If you monitor the stock market, you’ll also notice Ruger and Smith & Wesson have made some significant gains. The linked article theorizes President Obama’s speech catalyzed sales, although that postulate ignores the fact this trend began in early spring.

I visited Mid South Guns on Saturday, a great full-service store in Wagram, N.C., and spent about an hour talking to the staff. Business was brisk on Black Friday, as it was everywhere else, and employees noted there were no delays in NICS checks at all. The clerk explained, “Seventy percent of the people buying had concealed-carry permits, so I didn’t have to phone in for a NICS check.” I thought he was exaggerating, so I waited until the manager wasn’t busy and struck up a conversation. He confirmed the figure.

Add multiple-gun purchases that result in a single background check, and it’s obvious Americans are ready, willing, able and (judging by the carry permitees buying) better trained than ever to protect themselves and their loved ones until authorities arrive. In today’s perilous world, that’s a good thing.

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