March gun sales up, continue seasonal trends

March, the last month in the traditional gun shopping season, ended on a high note by generating 4.5 percent more sales than February, according to data released Monday by federal regulators.

While it isn’t unusual for March to generate more than February, it’s the first time it has happened in six years. Yet, permit checks in March on average beat out February.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 2.4 million checks last month. Subtracting permit checks for likely gun sales adjusts the total to 1.36 million.

That final tally includes 751,866 handguns, 461,273 rifles and shotguns, 38,684 other types, and 22,396 checks for transactions of multiple firearms.

Markets saw a positive response to the news. Smith & Wesson’s stock price broke a nearly two-month slump by shooting past the $20 mark. Sturm, Ruger & Co. also saw a marginal increase, gaining $2 per share.

Moving forward, the gun industry enters a slow season that traditionally continues a downward trend to the end of summer.