2021 may end up being a record-breaking year for firearms sales.
It is safe to say that 2020 and the start of 2021 have been a perfect storm for the firearms industry. Gun sales are skyrocketing. There looks to be no end in sight anytime soon either if the numbers being reported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation continue to hold.
CBS News reports that 5.5 million guns have already been sold through the first three months of 2021. To put things in perspective, that is an increase of 13 percent from the same time last year. Many shooting enthusiasts probably remember the long lines waiting at gun stores and how quickly ammunition flew off store shelves.
Many places are still being hit hard by the ammo shortage, even as manufacturers ramp up production to try and meet demand. Even with ammo being widely unavailable, the NSSF believes that 2021's final sales numbers could easily surpass 2020's record 21 million firearms sales.
To put things into a further perspective, just look back 20 years. CBS News reports that 8.5 million firearms were sold in the year 2000.
As for what is spurring the buying spree, there are many factors at work. First is the uncertainty stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Last March, when cases of the virus started spiking across the country, some gun shops saw their sales go up as much as 400 percent. The NSSF reported a 17 percent increase in background checks at the end of March 2020.
This year, concerns about the virus continue, with a little added incentive of $1,400 stimulus checks, which many people used on firearms. That is not all. Add in some political tensions from a shift in power after the 2020 elections and now a rise in mass shootings as new gun legislation is being mulled over, and you have a perfect recipe for major firearms sales.
"The conditions are different this year," NSSF's Director of Public Affairs, Mark Oliva told CBS News. "There are a lot of concerns about personal safety, but the talk of gun control in Congress is undeniably a factor that drives sales."
Gun shop owners seem to agree. CBS News also interviewed Eric Wallace, the owner and manager of Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia. Wallace noticed a spike in sales following the release of the stimulus checks. He has noticed concealed carry handguns and hunting rifles are the top sellers right now. He said some customers are also concerned about new gun control legislation.
"Whenever you talk about taking things away, people want it more," Wallace told the news station.
One cannot deny the impact the sales are having. In a release on their website, the NSSF reports that the firearms and ammunition industry's economic impact has risen 232 percent since 2008, to a whopping $63.5 billion in 2020. They also report the industry added 10,000 jobs, bringing the total to 342,330.
"The firearm industry has demonstrated amazing resilience and these economic impact figures are the result of every man and woman who comprise our industry," NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi said in a press release. "These professionals are the reason our industry continues to grow and contribute to our communities, states, and nation."
We will keep an eye on how firearms sales are going here in 2021 and bring you more news on the industry as it comes right here at Wide Open Spaces.
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