As of the beginning of November, gun sales are on the rise for the sixth month in a row nationwide. Nearly 2 million background checks for firearm purchases were processed by the FBI in October alone. If the trend continues, analysts say the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) will be on track to process the most firearm-related background checks ever in a single year. The current record was set in 2013. Sales figures started out strong at the beginning of the year, and have accelerated further since May.
The consistently strong sales have also contributed to a renewed interest among investors in the firearm industry. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. stock, for example, has nearly doubled in value this year. Manufacturers that specialize in compact self-defense weapons have become especially attractive to many investors.
So why the sudden and significant uptick in sales since last year?
Industry experts are attributing the surge in sales to a number of factors. On the one hand, geopolitical unrest overseas and a series of campus shootings at home have caused renewed concerns about self-defense among many Americans. Still others are taking preemptive measures in case firearm legislation becomes more heavily restrictive in the future. In addition to these considerations, gun manufacturers have also succeeded in reaching into previously untapped markets such as women and millennials in recent years.
The FBI’s report on background checks does note that there’s not necessarily a one-to-one correlation between sales and background checks as these regulations vary between jurisdictions. Nonetheless, such a huge right in background checks is indicative of a statically significant rise in sales as well.