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2 million guns estimated sold in November after record-breaking FBI background checks

David Chong, owner of AO Sword Firearms says that of the increase in gun sales at his store, 90% of the business is created from new gun owners. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/TNS)
December 03, 2020

November saw another record-breaking month in gun sales with nearly 2 million firearms sold in the last month alone.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a firearms industry trade group, estimated that during November, 1,949,141 background checks were performed before gun sales, a staggering 45.2 percent increase from the same period in 2019.

The jump marks the most gun sales ever in the month of November.

The unadjusted FBI data showed 3,626,335 NICS firearm background checks were performed last month, a roughly 40 percent increase from the unadjusted number of 2,545,863 over the same period in 2019. The adjusted FBI data was created by subtracting NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks, in addition to active CCW permit checks.

According to the NSSF, the year-to-date total of adjusted background checks is 19.1 million, a record-setting year for firearms sales. The previous record was set in 2016 with 15.7 million background checks. The group estimated that almost 7.7 million people purchased a gun for the first time this year.

The NSSF’s sales estimate does not consider sales in 25 states where concealed carry permit holders can bypass a NICS background check, suggesting the actual number of firearms sales could be much higher than estimated.

According to the NSSF, 541,000 guns were sold during the period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, a 14% jump over the same period in 2019.

December is usually one of the busiest months for firearms sales, and new gun ownership is estimated to reach nearly 9 million by year’s end. The jump in gun ownership has also led to record-setting demand for ammunition.

According to WINK-TV, high demand coupled with low supply is leading to price increases as gun stores nationwide face ammunition shortages.

“It seems like anywhere you go if you want to buy any kind of ammo at all it’s really tough to come by,” said Corey Rugg, owner of Gulf Coast Clay’s Gun Club in Ft Meyers, Florida.

Rugg told WINK-TV that he believes the shortage is a result of both panic-buying in the midst of the pandemic and the contentious presidential election between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

“Coronavirus shut down a lot of the manufacturers which supplied all the ammo and now all their inventory is gone and with all the panic buying everybody’s just starting to try and catch back up,” he said.

An employee at Tactical Research Weapons echoed Rugg’s comments, saying “as far as ammunition goes it’s extremely hard to come by.”

“Not only is it short but it’s also getting pretty expensive to the point where people won’t buy it unless they feel desperate enough to which we have had a few people do,” Thomas B. told WINK-TV.