The number of NICS background checks conducted by the FBI in June set an all-time record for the month at 2,312,309 and—after backing out the number processed for carry permits and other administrative use of the system—the figure reflects an increase in firearm sales for the second month in a row. A press release issued by Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), “… estimates June 2019 firearms sales at 973,500 units, a year-over-year increase of 3.8% from June 2018. Likely single handgun sales (544,807) increased year-over-year by 4.0% and single long-gun sales (322,033) decreased year-over-year by 0.1%. All other likely firearms sales (106,660) increased year-over-year by 16.9%.”
The news comes on the heels of May’s figures, in which firearm purchases also experienced an uptick compared to last year. Despite back-to-back encouraging news, SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer cautioned that, “… while the industry will welcome the June year-over-year sales increase, it is an increase that falls within the slowest sales period of the year. For the first six months of 2019, sales amounted to about 6.6 million units which, with the fall and year-end seasons still coming up, is on target to reach the whole-year total of about 13.5 million units that SAAF predicted at the beginning of the year.”
Last year’s overall gun sales came in at 13.1 million, according to National Shooting Sports Foundation’s calculations. Were the trend to continue, and SAAF’s modeling remains on track, an increase of 0.4 million firearm purchases could be recorded by the end of this year (compared to 2018).
Results of a survey released in early June—conducted by Southwick Associates—found the shooting and hunting market experienced an 11 percent increase in sales volume during 2018. Aftermarket accessories and upgraded firearms lead the charge, despite gun purchases remaining in the grips of the well-publicized “new norm.” The report indicates the industry and enthusiasm for gun ownership continues to grow, an observation endorsed by the most recent NICS figures.