(CNN Business) — The insurrection in the United States Capitol and the inauguration of a Democratic president who campaigned on strengthen gun control measures helped the firearms industry set a record in its January sales last month, according to data released Monday.
Gun dealers sold more than 2 million firearms in the United States during January. This represents a 75% increase over the 1.2 million guns that were marketed in 2020. Figures are from the National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF), a trade group in the firearms industry.
For its part, the FBI reported that it carried out 4.3 million background checks in January. Which is also a record. If that pace continues, the agency would complete more than 50 million gun-related background checks by the end of the year in the United States. This would beat the current record that was set in 2020, according to a new report from Bespoke Investment Group.
The NSSF compares reported background checks with actual sales figures to obtain adjusted and more accurate data on the arms trade. According to the organization, three of the 10 weeks with the most instant criminal background checks by the FBI were in the past month.
According to the log, there are only three other months in which there were a greater number of FBI gun background checks. First is January 2013, when Barack Obama assumed his second term after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre. Then it’s June and July 2020, after murder of George Floyd, according to the FBI.
But Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the NSSF, said that President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign rhetoric about ban AR-15 rifles and require gun owners to register to comply with the National Law of Firearmsor left some homeowners in greater fear that their ability to buy guns and ammunition will soon be reduced.
“They are going to act while they can so they can buy whatever they want,” Oliva told CNN Business. “It cannot be ruled out that many of these background checks for the purchase of a firearm are attributed to threats from the Biden administration to enact the most radical and far-reaching gun control agenda ever proposed.”
Gun-maker stocks spiked on Jan.6 when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. An event that caused the death of five people, including a police on duty. However, Bespoke noted that neither of the two most notable publicly traded gun manufacturers – Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger – has performed as well in recent months. Shares of both companies are well below their 52-week highs, according to Bespoke.
“Valuations for SWBI and RGR are at multi-year lows,” the investment firm wrote in one of its recent reports. “These multiple lows may well be justified given that arms manufacturers face an increased level of regulatory risk over the next several years with Democrats in full control in Washington.
Oliva indicated that continued fears about social unrest that began in 2020 probably played a role in the January sales record as well.
“I think there are still safety concerns,” he said. “There are people who fear that they cannot provide their own security,” he added.
Brandon Wexler, 51, owner of Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, Florida, said gun sales at his store have been “unusual” since the pandemic began last March. But, he added, purchases peaked in early January, when customers expressed anxiety over Biden’s inauguration.
“I think there was fear of rioting by supporters on both sides of the fence,” Wexler told CNN Business. “Fear increased the demand. Demand increased sales, “he said.
Anxiety over the covid-19 pandemic and civil unrest nationwide after the assassination of George Floyd led to an unprecedented increase in the number of people bought a gun for the first time. Bespoke analysts said there is a fairly direct connection between the level of uncertainty Americans have and the number of guns they buy.
“Obviously, January was quite a busy month. So it is understandable that the pace of background checks was so high, ”Bespoke analysts wrote in their report. “While we would expect that pace to slow down in the coming months, as things have been in recent months, who knows what the next few months will bring?”
The record for the month of January occurs after a year that recorded the most of arms sales in the United States. The FBI conducted an estimated 39.7 million instant gun-related background checks last year. Which surpassed the previous record of more than 27 million gun background checks in 2016. Precisely, the year many expected Hillary Clinton, a Democrat in favor of gun control, will win the White House. Bespoke noted that the year-over-year increase in monthly FBI gun-related background checks was at least 24% each month during 2020.
Both Oliva and Wexler said they hope that continued attempts to increase gun control will lead to increases in gun sales under Biden.
“Obama was the best arms dealer in the country,” Wexler said. “Covid-19 was the next best. And now I think Joe Biden will be the best arms dealer, “he added.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism