A record 21 million applications were run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) last year – an 8% increase over 2012 and, as The Washington Times reports, the 11th straight year that the number has risen. Background checks serve as a proxy for the number of gun sales, which soared in the months immediately after Sandy Hook (but notably fell in the last 2 months of 2013 as the Newtown and ‘fear of Obama’ effect wore off). “2013 was the best year for firearm sales (commercial, domestic) in history — period!” notes the president of the independent firearm owners association, adding that “Ammunition will still be very strong in 2014 as it hasn’t caught up nationally with the demand.” This could become a problem since, in what many believe was an attempt to ‘crowd out’ private buyers, the Homeland Security Department bought 1.6 billion rounds alone.
Gun records checks, fueled by a post-Newtown boom of gun sales, hit a new high in 2013, and industry analysts expect ammunition to be the big seller this year as consumers catch up to all of those firearms purchases.
More than 21 million applications were run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System last year, marking nearly an 8 percent increase and the 11th straight year that the number has risen.
“2013 was the best year for firearm sales (commercial, domestic) in history — period! That’s true for NH to Hawaii,” said Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association in Rindge, N.H. “Ruger alone sold well over one million guns this year.”
Mr. Feldman said to expect the next surge to be in bullets.
“Ammunition will still be very strong in 2014 as it hasn’t caught up nationally with the demand,” he said.
“I think there are a few downward pressures acting on the NICS checks,” he said. “Not just the Newtown effect wearing off, but the ‘fear of Obama’ effect wearing off.”
If ammunition does become the focus for gun owners, that could become another hot-button topic.
Last year, the Homeland Security Department had to explain to Congress its contracts to buy up to 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.
Some gun owners believed the department was trying to crowd out private consumers in the ammunition market, but federal officials said their purchases amounted to a tiny fraction of the ammunition produced every year.