Nearly 11 percent more guns were sold in the United States in October than a year ago, according to newly released data.
Roughly 1.2 million guns were sold this October, a 10.8 percent increase from Oct. 2018, according to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (pdf). The firm also estimated that about 1.1 million guns were sold in September, another increase of almost 11 percent from the same month last year.
The arms industry observer said it expects sales across 2019 to reach 14 million, past the 13.8 million guns sold in 2018 but below the estimates of 14.7 million sold in 2017 and 16.6 million sold in 2016.
“Sales have definitely been brisk, especially of small concealable handguns. We also saw a spike in sales of tactical rifles like AR-15s and AK-47s, for which I think we can confidently thank Beto O’Rourke,” Justin Anderson, marketing director for the North Carolina-based Hyatt Guns, told the Washington Examiner.
O’Rourke, a former U.S. representative from Texas, shouted on the debate stage over the summer “hell yes” when asked if he’d seize guns if elected president. O’Rourke later dropped out of the race, but other candidates have said they’d focus on gun control, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who has proposed banning 9-mm handguns, a popular handgun that’s used by numerous law enforcement agencies.
“It seems to me that Biden is preying upon the ignorance of his base by making such a ludicrous suggestion. Black Friday looks to be a huge day for the gun industry, building on what is already a record year for sales. In addition, with so much competition in the marketplace, retail pricing is as low as I’ve seen in over a decade. My message to consumers thinking about buying a gun: Pull the trigger!” Anderson told the Examiner.
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who just joined the race, is also known for his gun control advocacy after founding the group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Jurgen Brauer, Small Arms Analytics’ chief economist, told Fox News that he doesn’t think the rhetoric from Democratic candidates “will be the overwhelming contribution to increase sales this season,” but suggested it could boost sales next year.
“These Democratic candidates hashing it out amongst themselves, there is a bit of talk in the industry and among firearms owners for what this may augur for next year or thereafter,” he said.
Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Fox that prospective gun buyers would be aware of the looming 2020 election and the possibility a Democrat championing gun control could win.
“We’re seeing a lot of talk about people, presidential candidates or state governments wanting to severely restrict rights … Some have called for outright confiscation of guns and firearms. People are seeing that their rights are under attack … They start to make sure that they can buy the firearms that they want while they still can,” he said.
“[In] 2015, 2016 firearm sales went through the roof. It wouldn’t surprise me if we start to approach … that again if we continue to hear the rhetoric that we’re hearing.”