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Gun sales on track for record year as FBI does 16 million background checks so far in 2021

Gun section in Stans Merry Mart, Wenatchee Washington. (Thayne Tuason/Wikimedia Commons)
May 20, 2021

Federal firearm background checks have continued to climb in 2021, nearing 16 million in the first fourth months alone and marking a 30 percent increase from the same period last year. The increase in background checks suggests the United States is on track for another record year of gun sales.

According to FBI statistics, 4,317,804 background checks were conducted in January, 3,442,777 in February, 4,691,738 in March, and 3,514,070 in April — totaling 15,966,389 in the first four months of 2021.

The number of background checks performed does not necessarily equal the number of firearms purchased in instances where a background check is not required, or multiple firearms are purchased at one time. However, the increase in checks shows that sales are also increasing.

CBS Miami reported that Clay Ausley, owner of Fuquay Gun and Gold in North Carolina, said he is busier now than he has ever been in his 17 years of selling guns.  

“Every time a stimulus check hits, the lines go around the corner,” Ausley told the outlet. “There’s a tremendous amount of people still buying firearms for home defense this year. Also, a ton of interest in concealed-carry classes and in concealed-carry firearms this year.”

Ausley said that concerns about future gun control legislation from President Joe Biden’s administration is contributing to the surge in firearms sales.

“It’s very, very uncertain at this time in our nation and that tends to make firearms sell, for sure,” Ausley said.

The National Rifle Association had came to the same assessment when they tweeted on April 1 that President Joe Biden was “good at two things: selling guns and driving up NRA membership.”

New demographics are also showing interest in guns, according to Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz. The company added 8 million new individuals to its hunting and shooting categories this year, with the majority being younger people, women and people of color.

Metz said the demographic shift is likely due to people engaging more frequently in outdoor activities due to the pandemic.

“We haven’t seen these trends before. More millennials, more younger-generation people, more people of color, women are embracing hunter and field to table movements, filling their freezers with fresh meat, embracing safety and self-resiliency,” Metz told Fox Business. “It has created this structural shift in who is entering the market and using the product, which is really exciting for us.”

Vista Outdoor reported a 40 percent increase in sales during the business’ fourth quarter when compared to the same period in 2020.

In North Dakota, Josette Severson said her store and training facility has seen an uptick in senior citizens taking classes.

“Now during the day, several times a week at 10 in the morning, we have our Silver Bullet Club which is for 60 plus,” she said.