Have fun telling 5 million people to turn them back in, Joe and Kamala!
The 2020 Presidential election has already shaped up to be one of the weirdest on record, and it’s about to get even more interesting: The current Democratic nominee and his vice president have 5 million new gun owners’ guns to try grabbing. That astonishing seven-digit number is how many Americans bought their first gun in 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). If you’re not familiar, NSSF is actually the lobby for gun manufacturers (the NRA is the lobby for gun owners). What’s going to make things very difficult for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is that a remarkable percentage of these 5 million new gun owners are part of what normally would be their core constituency.
Women and African-Americans leading the surge
NSSF surveys revealed that 58 percent of firearm purchases of those 5 million new gun owners were among African American men and women, the largest increase of any demographic group. Women comprised 40 percent of first-time gun purchasers. Retailers noted that they are seeing a 95 percent increase in firearm sales and a 139 percent increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019. As we’ve noted in our sister publication, Guns and Gadgets Daily, more law-abiding Black Americans than ever before are refusing to buy into the dogma that more guns equals more crime.
Where the numbers came from
Although we have very serious privacy protection measures in place for NICS background checks, the NSSF has retail surveys they can do that serve as excellent barometers for the health of the industry. These surveys help them differentiate between people who already owned guns but bought new ones in 2020, and people buying guns for the first time. And according to their surveys, nearly 5 million Americans purchased a firearm for the very first time in 2020. An incredible 40 percent of sales were conducted to purchasers who have never previously owned a gun.
NSSF tracks the background checks associated with the sale of a firearm based on the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS). NSSF-adjusted NICS checks for January through July 2020 is a record 12.1 million, which is up 71.7 percent from the 7.1 million NSSF-adjusted NICS January through July 2019. This equates to nearly 5 million first-time gun owners in the first seven months of 2020.
In fact, each month since March, NSSF-adjusted NICS background checks have set a record as the strongest ever recorded for that month.
Why now (besides the obvious, of course)?
Several factors are contributing to the sustained surge in firearm purchases. Sales spiked in March, with a record-setting 2.3 million NICS background checks conducted for a firearm sale, the same month the coronavirus pandemic struck. During this time, police warned response times would be tested while mayors and governors emptied prisons, including violent felons. Some of those were rearrested within days for committing another violent crime. After Memorial Day, protests turned to looting, riots and destruction, which continues today in several major metropolitan areas. Politically-charged calls to defund police also continue to spur sales.
This is also an election year and firearm sales typically rise during presidential election years. However, this year, Democratic candidates Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are calling for stringent gun control measures, including forcible confiscation, banning entire classes of firearms from lawful possession, licensing schemes and repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would expose the firearm industry to frivolous and harassing lawsuits.
What does this mean for November?
“This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of today’s gun-owning community,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President of General Counsel. “These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership. That’s rapidly changing, and these Americans are taking hold of their God-given right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones.”
Only time will tell what’s going to happen in November, but we here at Freedom’s Lodge suspect that Joe and Kamala are going to have a tough time explaining to those 5 million new gun owners why they need to hand those new guns right back over to the government.