August Gun Sales Below 2020, but 2nd-Highest Figure for That Month on Record

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
September 2, 2021 Updated: September 2, 2021

Gun sales in the United States continue to outpace pre-pandemic levels, with a trade group estimating that more than 1.3 million firearms were purchased in August, the second-largest number for that month on record, surpassed only by August 2020, when pandemic fears inflated demand.

“Retail firearm sales remain steady and are still above historic norms. August 2021’s figures rose slightly over July 2021’s figures and this indicates that there is a continued strong and steady demand from Americans choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Mark Oliva, public affairs director at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

NSSF, the industry group that provided the gun sales estimates, derived the data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which shows that 2.7 million checks were carried out in August. NSSF arrived at its estimate by subtracting out NICS checks and rechecks used by states when reviewing concealed carry permits. While background checks don’t correspond to firearms sales exactly, they’re a widely used proxy.

The August figures were exceeded only by August 2020, when 1.68 million background checks were carried out, according to NSSF-adjusted data.

“So far in 2021, there have been over 12.4 million background checks for the sale of a firearm,” Oliva said. “That is within striking distance of 2019’s full-year totals, when 13.2 million background checks were conducted for a gun sale. Four months remain, during which firearm sales historically rise.”

Gun sales in the United States set a record in 2020, a year scarred by the pandemic and marked by social and political tensions. In a study conducted ahead of the November 2020 election, researchers found that concerns about the pandemic drove a surge in gun sales in California, with buyers citing concerns over lawlessness, prisoner releases, government overreach, government collapse, and gun stores closing.

Epoch Times Photo
Chart showing firearms background checks in the United States

The continued robust demand for firearms comes at a time when the Biden administration has moved to tighten restrictions on gun ownership. According to Oliva, that demand “sends a clear signal that Americans are choosing their gun rights over the Biden administration’s gun control.”

In June, President Joe Biden unveiled new measures that he said would address gun violence and violent crime. As part of the policy, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will seek to revoke the licenses of gun dealers who are found to violate federal law by willfully transferring a firearm to a person prohibited from owning one, failing to run a required background check, falsifying records such as a transaction form, failing to respond to a tracing request from the ATF, or refusing to let the ATF conduct an inspection.

Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'