Several media outlets are reporting that gun sales, in Nov/Dec 2011 and early 2012, are much higher than in past months and years.
“Gun buyers swamped retailers nationwide last year, prompting a record 16.4 million instant criminal background checks of potential owners, up 14.2 percent from 2010, according to FBI figures…. On Wednesday, gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co. announced the company was forced to temporarily suspend its acceptance of any new firearms orders due to a barrage of wholesale orders — more than 1 million in 2012 alone. Last year the company shipped a total of 1.1 million firearms. This massive push “exceeds our capacity to rapidly fulfill these orders,” the Connecticut company said in a news release, adding that it expects to resume normal operations by the end of May.” (MSNBC)
FBI background checks also show that gun sales have increased sharply, CNN reported.
What’s the cause of this increase in firearms sales? Several media outlets are pointing to the 2012 election.
“Industry experts and gun shop owners alike say the factor driving gun sales is the Nov. 6 election. There was a similar spike before President Obama was elected to his first term, and many gun buyers are saying they fear Obama’s re-election could mean more regulations on firearms.” (Fox News)
But MSNBC is suggesting an additional factor: relaxed gun laws.
“Relaxed gun laws are likely a factor behind the boom in sales, although not the only reason and perhaps not the primary one, industry experts say…. Conceal-carry permits are now allowed in 49 states (Illinois and Washington D.C. do not have conceal-carry laws), and “Stand Your Ground” laws are on the books in 21 states.” (Fox News
I’m going to suggest an additional factor, a minor factor but one that should not be overlooked: people preparing for difficult times. Many persons buy a gun for self-defense, rather than for recreational shooting. The perception that we are entering a time of increased social tensions and a strong economic downturn might spur some people to buy a gun for home defense.