It’s no secret firearm sales have cooled from the scalding pace set during 2020 and 2021, years that now occupy the top-two positions in annual purchase volume. That has helped gun and gear inventories resume a normalcy, although figures from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) make the Herculean effort put forth by manufacturers to accomplish that feat obvious. According to the Bureau, 2022 is edging closer by the day to eclipsing all pre-pandemic annual gun sales totals, and this month, enthusiasts in Oregon are piling the numbers up.
Nationwide, September and October firearm sales—when compared to the same months in 2021—declined by roughly 9 and 12 percent, respectively. Jurgen Brauer, chief economist for Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting puts those ominous-sounding figures in perspective, however. “[W]ith two more months to go before year-end, this calendar year’s total unit sales are expected to come in at somewhat less than 18 million units, the highest ever save for the 2020 and 2021 covid-19 pandemic years,” he said in a press release earlier this month.
That was before Nov. 8, too, when voters in Oregon narrowly passed Measure 114—a sweeping gun-control measure. Stephanie Bigman, an Oregon State Police spokesperson, told The Oregonian newspaper that from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 the department received 8,609 background check requests related to the sale of a firearm. The next week, when polls opened, she said the seven-day figure jumped to 18,065. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the state processed an average of 849 a day before results were in. The figure skyrocketed to 4,092 the next day and between Nov. 9 and Nov. 15 averaged 3,104.
Quadrupling purchases in Oregon will not push 2022’s nationwide volume ahead of 2020 or 2021. It does, however, underscore the vulnerability of regional inventory in a political storm, despite the best efforts of manufacturers.
There’s no doubt the industry is working overtime to keep FFL shelves full, but with Black Friday’s arrival it’s going to be a struggle. Enthusiasts everywhere, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest, should think twice before they procrastinate on their holiday shopping—regardless of the mainstream media’s claims about firearm sales.