Last month's gun sales were up 10 percent compared with October 2018, two reports from industry groups show, marking the third straight month of increased sales.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF) estimated that there were just over 1.1 million gun sales in October, compared with 1 million in October 2018.
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"The industry has seen well-improved sales numbers over the past three months," Jurgen Brauer, SAAF chief economist, said in a statement.
The jump in October sales continues a recent upward trend, which coincides with a move towards stricter gun-control positions in the Democratic presidential primary. While gun sales slowed in the first term of the Trump presidency—following record-setting sales under President Barack Obama—Americans appear to be ramping up their purchasing again in recent months. As the 2020 election draws closer and Democrats focus more on gun bans or even confiscation, gun sales could continue to increase.
SAAF said that in the last three months—during which every Democratic candidate endorsed new gun bans and two candidates centered their failed campaigns on confiscating certain guns—the industry saw enough gains over 2018 to make up for low-sales months earlier in the year. If the recent upward trend continues, 2019 will surpass last year's sales and could challenge 2017's totals.
NSSF found that October reversed a downward trend running from 2016 to 2018. While October 2019 sales were still down about 9 percent from 2014, they were up 10 percent from last year, almost 30 percent from 2009, and nearly 50 percent from 2004. The group said the rebound is evidence that American gun ownership has not waned in recent years, and that people continue to value self-defense, hunting, and the shooting sports.
There is no official count of gun sales in the United States, so to reach their estimate NSSF and SAAF used data gathered from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which processes background checks on all gun sales through federally licensed dealers, including every sale of a new gun in the United States. The two groups filtered out checks that were not associated with actual gun sales, such as those conducted during gun-carry permit applications.
"The NICS data continues to show us that Americans value their Second Amendment freedoms and ability to participate in the hunting and shooting sports," Mark Oliva, an NSSF spokesperson, told the Free Beacon. "Today's firearms owners continue to vote with their wallets, purchasing the firearms that best suit their needs, whether that is for self-defense, recreational target shooting, or hunting.
"More than 100 million Americans identify as a firearms owners, a data point that remains steady," Oliva added. "These are law-abiding Americans who own and use their firearms for lawful purposes daily and pass along the strong tradition of ethical firearms ownership to their families."