Gun Sales Exceed 1 Million For 38 Months & Counting

by
posted on October 11, 2022
38 Months

More than a million firearm sales in September resulted in the FBI conducting a National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) check. Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF) puts the 30-day period’s total sales at roughly 1.3 million, making it the 38th month in a row with seven-digit figures.

Purchases during the month, as glowingly reported in mainstream media, are down when compared to the same periods last year and in 2020, when the pandemic, widespread social unrest and calls to defund law enforcement fueled a record-setting gun sales pace. Were it not for those catalysts, 2022 would be on the verge of setting a new, all-time high-water mark for law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.

As for claiming third-place honors in a system that began in 1998, that position is currently held by presidential election-year 2016—with roughly 16.6 million total firearm sales. SAAF estimates that through the end of September, 12.7 million firearms sales during 2022 resulted in a NICS check. That leaves it just 3.9 million short of a podium finish, with three months remaining. The approaching heavy shopping periods of November and December average somewhere around 2 million mark, each—often exceeding that number.

Jurgen Brauer, SAAF Chief Economist, put the heavy purchase volume into perspective in a press release last week. “[T]he estimated sales through September 2022 amounted to about 12.7 million units, about 2.1 million units off the 2021 pace and about 4 million units less than in 2020, but still significantly higher than the 9.7 million units recorded in 2019 (all for January through September of the respective years),” he wrote. “The unit sales drop thus far this year is largest in the Midwest states and least so in the West.”

SAAF estimated 2022’s August sales at 1.28 million and roughly 1.3 million in July. There are, however, variables that drive published figures to the low side, including the fact that 25 states don’t require holders of a valid carry permit to undergo the redundant NICS check to purchase a firearm. They are also not required for private transfers in many regions of the nation. Even if 1.3 million remained a purchasing norm the last quarter of 2022, it would add up to a photo finish in the battle for third-place honors. That prospect seems unlikely with the holiday\s approaching and 2020’s volume of new enthusiasts shopping for something new.

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