Estimated gun sales plummeted 26 percent in July compared to last year as manufacturers and retailers predict a return to the industry’s “seasonal trends” in the non-election year.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation processed just north of 1.7 million applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month.
Guns.com estimates about half resulted in a gun transfer, though federal background check data itself remains an imperfect, albeit the best, proxy for the industry to track sales. Summer remains a historically slow period for gun sales.
Despite the dip in sales, last month’s estimated 845,000 sales came in just 30,000 less than July 2015 and a 100,000 higher than July 2014 and 2013, according to federal data.
Dealers processed checks for 480,124 handguns, federal data shows, representing a 16 percent decline from June. Sales of long guns remain flat compared to June, topping 322,000.
The market saw a sudden shift in demand following last year’s presidential election. With Republicans in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, many believed gun sales would drop to significantly, but the industry has managed to keep sales relatively high with discounting and promotions. Gun sales so far this year are trailing 2016, the biggest year in NICS history, by about 10 percent.