Black Friday gun sales set new record, holiday sales strong

Black Friday gun sales, traditionally one of the high points in the year, scored a new record this time, at least if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is any indication.  The one-day total number of checks was 185,713, a small increase over last year’s figure.  This good news is contrary to what appeared to be the expectations of the markets after the election when shares of Ruger and Smith & Wesson declined.

Holiday sales have been strong for a long time, rivaled only by purchases in response to a mass shooting.  That latter category results in unexpected spikes—four of the top ten single-day records since 1998 came in the days shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting.  The week of the 17th through the 23rd of December 2012 had almost a million checks run, the highest number for any week since the check system started.  The second and third highest week totals were the two following the San Bernardino shooting.

Now NICS checks are not always for gun sales, since carry licenses also pass through the system, and twenty-five states have been allowed an exemption to use carry licenses in place of having to call the ATF about the customer.  This is to say that the numbers cited above are not the exact totals for how many guns got sold, though it’s the best estimate that we have.

For which fact we should be pleased, since knowing the exact number would mean much closer tracking of which guns are sold to what buyers.  But as an indicator, the NICS numbers work.  And as I said, this year’s total is good news.

For one thing, as the saying goes, we should make hay while the sun shines, a piece of advice that is as wise now as it was in 1546 when John Heywood wrote it down.  Fighting violations of gun rights requires an approach on all fronts, but one surety against gun control is a large number of guns owned by a large number of Americans.  When a particular gun model or type is popular, people simply refuse to comply, as New Yorkers illustrate, and the more of us with guns that politicians don’t like us to have—some types to all types, depending on the politician—the less possible it will be to impose bans or restrictions.

Another good thing for gun buyers is that many gun stores laid in large stocks of firearms and ammunition in anticipation of a Clinton victory, and a large supply makes for potential discounts.  While the glory days of $60 Mosin-Nagants or an SKS for a couple hundred bucks or so are long gone, at least we have some hope that a box of .22 Long Rifle won’t be an endangered species and that prices for new guns could stay steady, while the cost of classics may again reflect their natural value, rather than spikes in demand.

This is all good news, something that’s been all too rare for a while now.  But good news is no cause for relaxing our guard.  We can take advantage of the opportunity that this election has provided to increase the exercise and protection of gun rights and the number of gun owners.  Those are to be desired in themselves, but also act as preparation for when the political pendulum swings the other way again.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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