More than a million guns were sold in the U.S. for the 39th straight month in October, even as sales cool off from record pandemic-era highs, according to new data from National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
Monthly data from the NSSF estimated that 1,265,311 guns were sold at retail last month. That’s down 11.3 percent from October 2021, but still the fourth highest October since 2000, according to the data.
NSSF bases its estimate on the number of federal background checks run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
Monthly gun sales have exceeded 1 million since August 2019, but since 2020, sales have at times topped 2 million, according to NSSF data. With more than 21 million guns sold, 2020 broke the previous record, set in 2016, by over 34 percent, and 2021 surged to second place with 18.5 million sold.
This year, sales have been below 2021 levels in every month except June, which saw an 8 percent increase, according to the data. With a total of 13,158,454 sold so far in 2022, sales are cooling off but still on pace to make it the third-best year tracked by NSSF.
Sales have stayed above 13 million since 2012, which was also the first year to see more than 2 million guns sold in one month – December, according to the data.
Last year, the Pew Research Center found 40 percent of U.S. adults saying there is a gun in their household. Personal protection topped the list of reasons for gun ownership in a 2019 Gallup poll.
“Background checks continue to reflect a steady interest by law-abiding Americans to exercise their God-given Second Amendment rights,” Mark Oliva, public affairs director for NSSF, told Guns.com. “Despite the claims of some elected officials that crime is not a national concern, these figures reflect the true sentiment of America. These gun owners are choosing to protect themselves.”