Firearm and ammunition sales skyrocketed in 2020, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation reporting a 139 percent average increase in ammunition sales and a 95 percent increase in firearms sales. 

Speaking at the Gun Rights Policy Conference, held virtually Sept. 19 and Sept. 20, NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi highlighted the industry's changing landscape in his State of the Industry address. During his speech, Bartozzi gave a quick briefing on notable statistics regarding gun ownership and sales since January, including results from recent surveys sent to retail partners. 

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest and riots, and the upcoming presidential election, Bartozzi said first-time gun buyers flooded retailers to get their hands on guns. Of the newcomers, 50 percent were aged 40 or under, with half that figure aged 30 or younger. In addition to seeing more Millennials in the mix, Bartozzi said the surveys revealed that 40 percent of buyers were women seeking a firearm for personal protection. Semi-automatic handguns, shotguns, and modern sporting rifles have been the most commonly purchased firearms, in that order. 

Joe Bartozzi, President and CEO of the NSSF, addressed virtual attendees of the 35th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference on Saturday, Sept. 19. (Screencap courtesy of YouTube.)

"2020 has been an incredible year for the sales of firearms and ammunition," Bartozzi said. "We know for sure that 2020 being an election year, we'll see a bump in an election year, but this year is different." He went on to add, "We're seeing a change in demographics that we haven't seen in the past."

According to the NSSF's adjusted figures, over 12 million background checks were run through the Federal Bureau of Investigation's NICS from January 2020 to July 2020, with 5 million Americans purchasing their first firearm during that time.  

Bartozzi said while there's no sure way to know how these newcomers will align politically at the polls, surveys sent to 18 swing states indicated that more than half of those surveyed said they opposed gun bans and supported gun ownership for home and self-defense. The number of gun rights supporters more than doubled those that supported gun restrictions. 

Bartozzi concluded his industry address by encouraging current 2A advocates to support first-time gun owners, inspiring them to take up the Second Amendment cause. 

"We encourage you all to embrace these new gun owners, to be mentors to them, to teach them how to hunt and shoot, and to help them embrace the rights contained in the Second Amendment." 

To catch the NSSF's Industry Report, check out the GRPC video below.


revolver barrel loading graphic