Gun Sales Surge

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

… at least judging by federal background check data—the blue line is for 2020, and the others are for 2016 (green), 2017 (orange), 2018 (grey), and 2019 (yellow).

Of course, this doesn't include illegal gun sales, and gun sales by non-firearms-dealers in those states that don't require background checks in such situations.

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  1. If you are waiting for an emergency to buy guns then you shouldn’t own them in the first place.

    (speaking as a gun owner)

    1. Dang, I actually mostly agree with regexp on something.

      But as a practical matter, people do tend to procrastinate about many many contingencies that don’t seem to be a concern in the current moment.

      Buying a fire extinguisher.
      Sufficient life insurance.
      Making a will.
      …. there’s a long list of things that should be done when they are not yet needed.

      1. You really don’t want to have to rely upon a gun that you haven’t put a few boxes of ammo through. Yes, it helps to practice with a fire extinguisher too, but I did pretty good with one the first time on a working fire.

        1. I agree in general, and in fact am a firearms instructor.

          But if you look at the data around Defensive Gun Use, most do not involve shooting the firearm. The presence of it is sufficient to cause the criminal to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

    2. I think these sorts of trends mostly indicate people with a longstanding desire to have a gun finally moving on that desire, and people getting a second or third gun.

      1. Many gun retailers report that about 40% of buyers are FIRST TIME BUYERS. IOW, they finally wised up to the fact that when the SHTF and seconds count, cops are minutes/hours/days/infinity away. That means about 2 million new gun owners. And no telling how many people that bought into the anti-gun lies that “buying a gun is easier than buying a Big Mac”. In the slave states like CA, NY and New Germany they found out that the government takes 6-9 months (if ever) to approve their “privilege” of owning a gun. And with the Kung Flu closing various govt. approval agencies, that permission is on hold until further notice, riots or no riots. Maybe they will wise up, but I doubt it. And there are 16 million + people with concealed carry licenses/permits in the various states. And in many of them, they don’t have to submit to a NICS “background check” and don’t count in the “new gun sales” statistic.

    3. Maybe they just got mugged by reality and changed their minds.

    4. Yeah, those are the idiots who paid $900 for a Glock off Armslist.

  2. “illegal gun sales”

    No gun is illegal.

    1. Undocumented guns.

      1. “Non-citizen” guns

        1. Alien (ray) guns.

  3. Uh huh. I bet it charts pretty well against people buying toilet paper. Coming out of the CoronaVirus pandemic we’ll have a lot of folk with a bright shinny new gun and mountains of t-paper piled up in their closet. Of course the latter they’ll eventually use, so at least there’s that.

    Moral of the story? In times of upheaval people make silly decisions.

    1. Storal of the mory: especially politicians.

    2. Our TP stash is finally starting to get low; We didn’t go hog wild, and the stocking up we did was several weeks ahead of the rush. (Which we could see coming.) Thanks for reminding me, I need to get some more soon.

  4. Can only say my Ruger stock is ringing the register.

  5. If BLM really mattered they’d be a nutrition group.

  6. Well, gun sales surged 3-4 months ago anyway.

    1. Martinned: The surge continues — gun sales were 44% above the March average in March, 33% above the April average in April, and 50% above the May average. (They were also 21-23% above the monthly averages in January and February, so maybe there’s a broader growth trend, but March, April, and May have all seen a surge even compared to earlier in the year.)

    2. Gun sales surged when Covid started and many sneering Euros asked if it was because the new buyers wanted to shoot at the virus.

      But of course, gun sales surged because of the possibility of civil unrest and social breakdown.

      And guess what happened!

      1. Huh? You think George Floyd got killed because of Covid???

        1. No, but the riots probably happened because of it, or rather, because the lockdowns had everybody on edge already.

  7. The liberal theme now seems to be “REVOLUTION!!!!” Just because their fellow travelers who are in charge of city police departments are tolerating looting and violence does NOT mean John Q. Public is going to do the same. So be careful what you wish for liberals, you might just get it all and some you don’t want.

  8. “non-firearms-dealers”

    Such a clunky phrase. How about just “private citizens”?

    1. The original jack burton: I agree that “non-firearms-dealers” is a clunky phrase, but “private citizens” wouldn’t be clear to many readers. “Private citizen” is generally used as an antonym to “government employee,” but of course under this definition federal firearms licensees are private citizens, too.

      1. Perhaps simply “private sellers”.

        1. Again, “private sellers” means a good deal to people in the know, but my sense is that many people who don’t follow this subject might be confused by this sense of “private.”

          1. Undocumented firearms dealers?

          2. Excellent revolvers and their automatics have gotten substantially better.

            1. Dunno why this ended up here. Apologies, was attempting to respond to the poster with Ruger stock.

              1. They also make an excellent entry level A.R. 15.
                Which are literally flying off the shelves of gun stores.
                My guess is the great majority of those new gun buyers who bought A.R. 15‘s are going to vote for Trump.
                Joe Biden has already said he will appoint a Czar to make the citizens get rid of their assault style weapons. (Beto was suggested for the position).

  9. According to the last DoJ NIJ Bureau of Justice statistics survey of prison inmates who carried or used a gun in the crime for which they were imprisoned, 91% acquired their guns from grey or black market sources, only 9% from retail sources (gun stores, pawn shops, gun shows, flea markets). Forty years ago, first armed and dangerous inmate survey, the proportions were about 20% retail sources, 80% grey or black market. 2004 survey 25% were from drug/street criminals (man you can’t get those dudes to demand Rx from their customers, but they’re gonna run UBCs on buyers?)

    I grew up under local option alcohol prohibition 1953-1968; good source for guns in the neighborhood was bootleg joints.

    Gun control is not about cracking down on criminals. It is about cracking down on legal gun ownership. It does have the effect of encouraging panic buying.

    1. I grew up under local option alcohol prohibition 1953-1968; good source for guns in the neighborhood was bootleg joints.

      After the first felony, the second one is free…

    2. While the bad guys got their guns from the grey/black market most of the time, the grey/black market is quite closely tied to the above board market.
      Gun owners can be a careless lot. Every week in my small town there is reporting of someone having their gun stolen when left in their car. That in fact is the scenario of the McMichael father-son duo who felt the need to hunt down a jogger whom they felt had taken a gun from their unlocked vehicle some days earlier. And he was a former LEO. Really the only reason that someone should loose their right to poses firearms is to be so incompetent as to loose a firearm.

      1. I don’t see why someone should lose the right to possess a gun just because someone stole one from them. Should a person lose the right to own a chainsaw if someone steals it from them? A lawnmower?

  10. My local “Mom & Pop” Gun store sold out a complete shipment (16) of higher end AR’s in 2 business days. The handgun cases are about 60% empty now. Some Taurus revolvers and some Uberti Single Action Army replicas are left. I only saw two guns in the “Used” case. Note: this is in Illinois, where it now takes 4 to 5 months to even get a FOID card, required to buy any gun or ammunition. According to the owner, about 70% of the customers are first time buyers and most are from Chicago/Cook County.

    So, one pragmatic question. When the left finally “defunds the police”, are we supposed to haul the carcass of the guys we shot breaking into our home out to the curb on the regular trash pick up day? Or will there be a special number to call for body pick up and Soylent Green stickers, they way we do for grass clippings, leaves and tree branches?

    1. Don’t be silly when the police are not funded crime will just disappear. We will all get together, crack open a Coca-Cola, and sit around in a circle.

      No, seriously, this is what some people think will ACTUALLY happen.

    2. Your town doesn’t offer a compost bin? How non-progressive.

  11. I am just surprised that the spike isn’t even greater. Probably an artifact of limited supply. Expect to have June really set records.

    Was in a sporting goods store a couple days ago in Kallispell, MT. They might have been a little light on AR-15 type long guns. But they still had a good selection of handguns. Saw a Glock 40 that really tempted me, but luckily gave it a pass (already have a G20 and some holsters work for both).

    1. If you were professional enough you probably would have bought it.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ufT_6Kgy0

      1. The difference between a G20 and a G40 is mostly a couple inches longer barrel. (Plus the G40 is setup for easy installation of optics, such as red dot sights). Hard to conceal a G20. Much harder to conceal a G40. And really not overly easy to draw quickly from a regular holster. About the easiest seems to be a guide holster for chest carry. It is mostly a hunting gun, used in particular for brown and black bear hunting.

        So, no, you probably not going to shoot yourself with your own G40.

        1. > Hard to conceal a G20.

          I have never had a problem carrying a G20 concealed for more than a decade. I do not own anything smaller.

          > And really not overly easy to draw quickly from a regular holster.

          Unless your situational awareness fails, cheat the draw. Twice that has been enough for me to deter a violent encounter.

  12. Every time a state “closes the gun show loophole”, background checks rise. I’d guess the majority of sales still happen, just through a dealer instead of face-to-face.

    Then again many state CHLs and LTC licenses are “skip NICS” licenses, so purchases by holders of those (who likely already own one or more firearms) don’t show up in the numbers.

  13. Maybe it’s because 80% lowers and frames, err paperweights – yeah paperweights, have been scarce for the last few months and people resorted to buying guns instead.

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