The Numbers Behind 2020’s Gun Sales are Staggering

2020 was defiantly a crazy year. It will be defined in history books for years to come by the COVID pandemic and civil unrest. These events shaped our lives and changed the way many people view the world. These changes in views are can be seen in the gun sales numbers.

2020 became the year of the gun. The uncertainty of where things were heading led to a bonanza of gun purchases, and not by just firearm enthusiasts but first-time gun owners as well. Many people saw the unreliability of government agencies for the first time and decided that they were directly responsible for their own safety.

According to Concealed Nation, Americans bought at least 21 million firearms in 2020. This is a 60% increase from 2019. It also breaks the former record of 15.7 million gun sales in a year that was set back in 2016. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) estimates that 8.4 million people became first-time firearm owners in 2020.

Keep in mind that these numbers are based on the number of NICS background checks so the actual numbers are much higher. They do not take into account private sales that do not require background checks and multiple guns purchased under a single background check.

Many people were also not able to buy guns when they wanted. As many gunowners know demand out paced supply and at many times the shelves of gun shops sat bare. Also some state restricted the operation of gun shops claiming they were not essential. The courts fixed this erroneous line of thinking, but there were times that law abiding citizens could not purchase guns.

“The fact that more than 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm in 2020 shows just how much value the American public places in their God-given Second Amendment rights,” said NSSF’s Mark Oliva. “This record year surpassed 2019’s totals by 60 percent and the previous record of 2016 by 34 percent. NSSF estimates that more than 8.4 million people legally purchased a firearm for the first time in 2020.”

“This occurred under the most challenging of circumstances. Law-abiding Americans demanded to exercise their right to lawfully purchase, keep and bear arms. Some governors, mayors, and even Members of Congress actively stood in the way of that and didn’t relent until faced with court action.” He continued, “At the same time, workers in these firearm and ammunition factories, distributors, retailers, and ranges made adjustments to keep their workforce safe and protected from infection while keeping pace with the demand of the American public. That’s a testament to the determination of the American worker that makes our freedoms possible.”

We should look for these trends to continue into 2021. The government is still using the pandemic to restrict personal freedom and there is no progress on the issues that caused the civil unrest. So not much of what caused the 2020 surge in gun sales has changed. Now add in the unconstitutional stances of the Biden administration, which is sure to add to the surge as well.

2021 could be another record-breaking year. Also, ammunition manufacturers remain optimistic that they will be able to catch up with the ammunition demand and end the ammunition shortage that is facing many gun owners.

Here are some of the raw numbers from the NSSF press release:

The December 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,906,916 is an increase of22.7 percent compared to the December 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,553,965. For comparison, the unadjusted December 2020 FBI NICS figure 3,904,879 reflects a 34.7 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,898,501 in December 2019.

The fourth quarter 2020NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 5,625,610 reflects an increase of 40.6 percent over the 4,001,455 figure for fourth-quarter 2019.

The 2020 annual total of 21,083,643 is a 59.7 percent increase over the 2019 annual total of 13,199,172. The 2020 total is now the highest annual total on record, exceeding the previous record of 15,700,471 set in 2016 by 34.3 percent. NSSF estimates that in 2020, over 8.4 million people purchased a gun for the first time, based on retailer surveys.