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Industry Hits 2012 With Record-Setting Momentum

By Russ Thurman.

The firearms industry is enjoying significant sales momentum from 2011, with consumers making purchases that have reached record-setting status.
The FBI reported a record number of background checks were conducted during December, which capped a record-setting year for NICS.
In December, NICS conducted 1,410,938 (NSSF-adjusted) background checks, an increase of 25.5 percent over December 2010. This is the highest number of background checks for a single month in the history of NICS, and marked the 19th straight month of increases.

For 2011, NICS conducted a record-setting 10,791,275 (NSSF-adjusted) checks, an increase of 14.4 percent over 2010, a 33.5-percent increase over 2007 (5-year) and a 54.1-percent increase over 2002 (10-year).

While the number of background checks does not reflect the actual number of firearms sold, it is the most up-to-date indicator of what is happening in the marketplace. NSSF adjusts the NICS data by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks used by several states for CCW permit application checks, and checks on active CCW permit databases.

The number of firearms sales has attracted the attention of the mainstream media. On Jan. 3, CNBC posted a story on its website (www.cnbc.com) titled “Firearms Sales Ring in 2012 With a Bang.”

“Uncertainty in a presidential election year. Warriors returning from the battlefields. The comeback of the hunter. These are just some of the reasons that gun experts and advocates cite as reasons why firearms makers are ringing in 2012 like gangbusters,” writes Peter Suciu.

The article details a number of factors that have had a positive impact on firearm sales, including the significant number of Americans who support the Second Amendment.

That support was dramatically reflected in the October 2011 Gallup Poll that reported a record-low 26 percent of Americans favor a legal ban on possession of handguns in the United States. Gallup also reported that for the first time, there is greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or “assault rifles.”

This good news for the industry — and gun owners — has stalled the anti-gun movement. In its Jan. 9-15 issue, “Bloomberg Businessweek” features an article titled, “Gun Control: A Movement Without Followers.” The article subhead: “As more Americans embrace Second Amendment rights, the anti-firearm movement dries up.”

While there is a lot to celebrate as the industry enters 2012, there are negative factors to consider: primarily the possibility of a second term for President Obama, and the impact of a continuing wobbly European economy.

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