Americans Just Aren’t Buying As Many Guns As We Used To

Sales of many Americans’ favorite purchases are down across the board this year, causing the industry a great deal of worry.

An Unexpected Trend

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As the U.S. gears up for a heated election season, there’s a surprising sales (or lack of) trend – gun sales are falling, not rising. 

Presidential Elections and Firearm Sales Surges

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Election years – especially those featuring a presidential race – always see a huge surge in firearm sales. This year, however, the trend has reversed, causing some within the industry to raise an eyebrow.

Current Sales Figures

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Americans bought fewer guns this May than any other May in the past five years. New analysis of gun sales has revealed a surprising downturn in firearm purchases – a continuation of a trend that began at the start of 2024.

FBI Background Checks Reveal Sales Downturn

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According to the latest FBI background check data, only 1,089,117 checks were related to gun sales in May 2024. This is a 7.2% decline from May 2023 and the lowest May total since 2019 – as reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). 

Monthly Decline

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The decline has been a steady slide month-over-month since March, with May seeing nearly 400,000 fewer checks compared to April 2024.

Election Year Patterns

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Presidential election years typically boost gun sales, as citizens are driven by fears that new policies blocking or creating barriers to gun ownership could come into effect. 

Shattered Expectations for 2024 

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Experts had predicted that this year, the huge difference between each candidate’s stance on gun control would continue this historic trend – but their estimations have been shattered by this new sales data.

Political Stances

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Former President Donald Trump, backed by the NRA, has promised to safeguard gun rights, while President Joe Biden continues to push for tighter gun regulations – including a ban on popular firearms like the AR-15.

Industry Perspective

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Despite the downturn, industry experts are keeping their spirits high. They explained that May’s sales, while down, are still higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

Mark Oliva’s Insights

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Mark Oliva, an NSSF spokesman, noted, “May showed that over 1 million Americans chose to exercise their Second Amendment rights, which starts by being able to freely approach the gun counter to make a legal firearm purchase.” 

1 Million Buyer Streak

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He went on to explain, “That streak over more than 1 million background checks has continued for 58 months, uninterrupted.”

Political Indicators

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Oliva sees May’s sales numbers as a reflection of people’s political standing. “This is, quite literally, a monthly poll of how Americans are voting with their wallets, each and every time they complete a background check through the FBI for the lawful sale of a firearm,” he stated. 

An Important Qualifier

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His is a view that understands the importance of gun ownership to American citizens, however, whether he’s correct will only be revealed come November.

NICS as a Measure of Gun Sales

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While FBI background checks via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) work to create an estimate of national gun sales, they aren’t a perfect measure. 

State Variations

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Licensed dealers must perform these checks for all commercial sales, and many states require them for private sales too. 

Concealed Carry Permit Holders

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However, in some states concealed carry permit holders are exempt from additional checks, meaning raw NICS numbers can overestimate actual sales. 

NSSF Adjustments

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The NSSF adjusts these figures to filter out checks unrelated to sales – such as those for permit applications – in an effort to present a clearer picture of sales.

Raw Data

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In raw terms, May 2024 saw 2,000,505 NICS checks – a sharp 14.6% drop from May 2023’s total of 2,343,850. This broader decline has raised questions about the future of the firearms market, especially in an election year.

Future of the Firearms Market

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As the November election approaches, all eyes are on how the nation’s politics will influence gun sales. Maybe the election buzz will kickstart sales again, or maybe this slump is here to stay, but for now, the firearms industry is navigating uncharted waters.

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The post Americans Just Aren’t Buying As Many Guns As We Used To first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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