It’s challenging to come up with a creative word to describe the present pace of firearms sales. Before the national elections, they were “blistering,” “white hot,” “scorching” and “sizzling.”
Now, following the reelection of President Obama and the massive number of customers converging on gun stores, those catchy words seem a bit mild — chilly, even.
Firearms sales began setting impressive, sustained records in mid-2010, capped with a 24.5-percent increase in NICS background checks (NSSF adjusted) in December 2011 over December 2010. But consumers were just getting warmed up.
In 2012, the increases in background checks are notable by any measure of business. Even the summer slump months produced increases that look more like those of the fall buying season.
This year, for the first time in the history of NICS, there were more than one million background checks conducted during five months — and that’s only through October. In October, NICS conducted 1,118,994 (NSSF-adjusted) background checks, a jump of 18.4 percent over October 2011. It was the highest October in the history of NICS, and the 29th straight month of background-check increases.
November 2012? It will eclipse the highest month in the history of NICS: November 2008 when 1,210,043 background checks (NSSF adjusted) were conducted. That number has already been surpassed, with 1,266,344 checks in February of this year.
While there are many who need the possible banning of certain firearms by the president to be the reason for the dramatic surge in sales, that’s not the major motivator. Consumers are more motivated by likely shortages — brought on by those fearing bans — and personal protection.
Also there is a good bit of firearm ownership solidarity occurring, which has its foundation in long-time firearm owners, reinforced by a new wave of consumers. These new gun owners, in addition to wanting to protect themselves and their families, have discovered the fun factor of shooting.
Are the present robust sales sustainable? Not at the current level, but 2012 will hit historic high marks in sales for most segments of the industry. And that momentum will drive sales well into next year.
Yes, business is good.
Business Building In 2013
This issue of Shooting Industry begins our New Business Year. Yes, it’s still 2012, but 2013 is our focus. This issue launches our look at next year, with dealers sharing what they’re doing to maximize 2013. Next month, we’ll share the views of industry leaders, who see 2013 as a great year for business, but one that will have its share of challenges.
In the December and January issues, our New Product Showcases present hundreds of the newest offerings from companies throughout the industry. These showcases, along with this month’s updated The Universe’s Greatest Buyer’s Guide and our SHOT Show information, provide readers with invaluable tools for building their businesses. In the January issue, we will publish the SHOT Show Exhibitors Guide and insert our “I can really read this” SHOT Show Floor Map.
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By Russ Thurman
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