Although the debate over gun control remains a hot button issue, gun sales in the United States have continued to increased.
In fact, 2015 was a record-breaking year in terms of gun sales. On Black Friday, more Americans bought guns than any other single day in history. According to the FBI, another record was set when more than 23.1 million people applied for background checks during 2015.
So more people are purchasing firearms than ever, but what are exactly are they buying?
At the National Shooting Sports Federation‘s annual tradeshow, SHOT Show, firearms manufacturers displayed a wide variety of guns ranging from handguns to AR-15s and even AK-47s. While the high-powered rifles certainly draw attention, particular from shooting enthusiasts and law enforcement personnel, the general public seems to be more interested in small firearms.
“What you see as a trend is a lot of people are concerned about their personal security,” says Bob Radecki, national sales manager for Glock.
Models designed for those wishing to concealed carry rank among the most popular, including 9mm, .380- and .40-caliber handguns.
Historically, a surge in gun sales typically follows mass shooting events and the proposed government gun control that undoubtedly follows them. Ultimately, this has resulted in shortages of both firearms and ammunition.
However, the recent increase in gun sales is being attributed to buyers’ concern over recent events rather than fear of stricter government regulation. So for now, it seems that supply is keeping up with the demand.
“Executive action is not going to have a lot of effect, unless there’s congressional action to back it up,” says Radecki. “What our customers are telling us is they’re concerned about personal security after the acts of terrorism we’ve seen over the past year [such as the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino].”
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry generates an estimated $6.6 billion. So regardless of the reason behind the purchase, there’s no arguing that the firearm industry is thriving.